Using CFS, the Cryptographic Filesystem

    Date16 Oct 2002
    CategoryCryptography
    3475
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    If you want to keep private your personal files, such as those containing phone numbers, correspondence or journals, you could keep them in a hidden directory named ~/.private with mode 0700, so only you could read the files. Are you chuckling . . . If you want to keep private your personal files, such as those containing phone numbers, correspondence or journals, you could keep them in a hidden directory named ~/.private with mode 0700, so only you could read the files. Are you chuckling yet? Then let's consider employing a stronger privacy technique: cryptography. Specifically, let's look at Matt Blaze's open-source Cryptographic Filesystem (CFS) for UNIX and Linux.

    Briefly, CFS allows you to safeguard your files in encrypted form in a normal directory. By using a key (or password, if you will), you temporarily decrypt your files to clear-text form for the window of time in which you need to work with them.

    CFS makes your clear-text files available to you via a local loopback NFS mount; the CFS documentation refers to this as an "attach". Modifications you make to your clear-text files then are reflected automatically in the encrypted versions. You end your CFS session with a "detach", which makes your clear-text files disappear until the next time that you attach them.

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