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A few months ago, I hacked up a solution for secure locate and ecryptfs. Ian D. Allen suggested a better method, using a private per-user locate database rather than mucking with the system one. I’ve taken his suggestion.

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Secure locate with ecryptfs

I use an ecryptfs-encrypted home directory. I also like the convenience of locate, which keeps a database of all the files on my laptop. Unfortunately, these two things are in conflict with one another. The locate database is stored in an unencrypted location, which means the names of my files can be easily retrieved. This is bad, even though the content of those files is still protected. However, it is possible to have both.

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Update 2012-03-06: gnupg.vim now has a new maintainer. Link updated.

I’m always looking for a better way to digitally store private data, like passport numbers, credit cards, and server root passwords. Unfortunately, good encryption is hard to find. I have yet to find a solution better than “GPG-encrypted text files edited with a secure editor”. For five years I’ve used KGpg‘s built-in text editor for this, but it has a number of limitations. Today, I discovered that I can do it natively within Vim.

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One of the awesome features of the last several Ubuntu releases is support for ecryptfs, an encrypted filesystem. At Talia we depend heavily on GPG, OTR, SSH keys and other forms of encryption and secure identification. Loss of those keys and other confidential data to laptop theft, corporate espionage, or the US Customs Service is a big concern for us. This week I secured my laptop, as a prototype of our new corporate laptop setup. Here is how I did it.

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