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How to encrypt an internal and external hard drive in Linux and always keep it protected? Step by step guide

One of the aspects that we can take into account when strengthening the security of a Linux computer is to encrypt the hard drive. This is to encode the information so that the privacy of the data can be increased.

In this way, the work of intruders to enter our computer will be much more complicated. But you should bear in mind that to retrieve that information you do not have to forget your password, since it will be impossible to access it.

In this post we will mention the steps that you will have to do to encrypt a Linux disk. We will also talk about the benefits of choosing this technology and the best tools for coding. Let us begin!

Steps to encrypt an external or internal hard drive on my Linux computer

Before we start we will use Ubuntu as the distribution for Linux, this does not mean that you cannot use another distro. Just keep in mind that the first step will change, since you will look for the update from another side to which we refer you, but the rest of the steps will be exactly the same.

Another previous clarification that we will tell you is that it is convenient that you make a backup of all the important data so that you do not lose them, in case you make a mistake in the following steps.

Once everything is clarified, we can start. When you want to protect your information that you have stored on the hard disk, internal or external, of your Linux computer, you will have to follow this guide:

Update the latest version of the distro

When using Ubuntu, you will need to have the latest official updated version of your ISO. For this, you will have to enter the official Ubuntu site with your browser and look for the latest update.

Download Ubuntu Latest Version

Download balenaEtcher

This tool will allow you to create a "USB memory "Bootable", with which you can easily incorporate various ISO images. The steps you should follow are:

  • Choose the Ubuntu image you want to download.
  • Look for removable memory as the means to store the ISO.
  • Finally, tap "Flash".
  • Once you have done this, you will have correctly installed the Ubuntu image on the pendrive.

Download BalenaEtcher Linux

Configure BIOS

When you enter the BIOS from your computer, you must select the tab BOOT, then choose the option Removable Devices. This will make you have to choose that the starting order of the computer is first the removable memory in which you have installed the latest version of Ubuntu.

After a few seconds, a window with another type of interface will appear. In this case you must activate the boxes "Use LVM in Ubuntu installation" and "Encrypt Ubuntu installation for greater security".

Create special partitions

Create special partitions

If what you want is create certain partitions so that you can resize it or choose several partitions for Ubuntu at the same time, you must select the tool "More options". With this you can activate the box that best suits your needs.

Choose the type of installation

Choose the type of installation

At this time you will have to define the volume for encryption, as well as the size of the installation. For this you will have to select in the box "Size" what you want and then in the field "Use how to choose the physical volume for encryption".

Choose a security key

What remains to do is click on "To accept" in the previous window to save the changes you have made and thus have the possibility of continuing with the entire installation process.

A window will appear in which you must choose the field "Encrypt Ubuntu installation" and look for the option "Install Now". This will ask you for a password to protect the files in case you lose your computer.

Install

Install

What you will have to do is do the installation since you have all the previous steps defined. You will have to click on the option "Install Now" and after a few minutes you will have to establish your location, your name and password.

When you have finished writing all the requested data you will have to click on "Continue".

Check the encryption

If you carried out all the steps correctly you will be able to validate the encryption by restarting the computer if it asks you for a password you will have successfully completed the entire process.

What are the benefits of keeping my physical drives encrypted?

When you encode your internal or external physical disks, you will gain access to certain benefits, which we mention below:

  • All the information you have the you will keep locked, which increases the privacy of your data.
  • In case of loss or theft no person will be able to access important data without your authorization.
  • A little related to the previous point, Only people you trust can enter your team.
  • Confidential data will be handled with caution and cannot be hacked, since nobody will be able to find out the information that you have encrypted.
  • Lets you destroy encrypted data. That is, through encryption no person will be able to access your data. In case you need to sell the equipment, you can format it and destroy private information, in this way no one will be able to access your data by any technological means.

List of the best tools and programs to encrypt disks in Linux

There are different tools that will help you encrypt the disks in Linux. We will show you below the most outstanding that you can find today:

LUKS

This tool allows you to provide a standard format to make Linux distributions more compatible. It has the advantage that it allows the user to migrate the data between different configurations with only the partition header. It is open source and it is not recommended to use this tool in any operating system other than Linux.

Download LUKS Linux

Ciphershed

It is also open source software and can be used both in Linux as in Windows and MacOS. It is considered by many as one of the best programs to encrypt disks, since it is based on the famous TrueCrypt container. This allows the functions to be much simpler and you can use hidden volumes.

Download Ciphershed Linux

VeraCrypt

Also based on TrueCrypt. Its algorithms allow systems to be encrypted in a very simple way, making them immune to brute force attacks by hackers.

While encryptions take a little longer than other toolsThis is because it performs more iterations than the rest, making the result much more secure and reliable. It is available for Linux, MacOS and Windows.

Download VeraCrypt Linux

AES Crypt

It could not miss this powerful that offers the most complete protection of information and privacy according to many. Allows you to encrypt the entire disk as well as protect data from storage you can have in the cloud.

It is an open source tool like almost all other Linux, it provides the user with an important safeguard for their private data. The distribution of the license is free.

Download Crypt AES Linux

eCryptfs

It is another open source tool that manages to encrypt the files you have in a company. In this way you will have the possibility of having all the data that they manage in the company by means of access passwords, making that no unauthorized user can enter them.

Download eCryptfs Linux