EncFS in Ubuntu

Encrypt everything in DropBox or Ubuntu One or Copy or whatever cloud service you use:

Decrypted folder ←encfs→ Encrypted Folder (inside UbuntuOne/Dropbox/Copy)

On another computer the encrypted folder is synced by UbuntuOne/Dropbox and can also be decrypted on the fly.


  • Install encfs version 1.7 or greater

    sudo apt-get install encfs

  • install gnome-encfs-manager:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gencfsm/ppa

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-encfs-manager

Setting up the Drive on the first computer:

  • Create a (hidden) directory inside Dropbox/Ubuntu One to use as for the encrypted files
  • Start gnome-encfs-manager and set up a new stash (click on the plus sign)
  • Set the directory to encrypt to a (hidden) folder inside your Dropbox/Ubuntu one folder
  • Set the mount directory wherever you want (default is fine)
  • enter a good password (30 random chars...) and click "Create"
  • edit the new stash so it is mounted on startup and the password is saved in the gnome keyring

You should now have your encrypted drive mounted (it will be displayed like a mounted usb-drive)

Importing the drive on other computers:

  • Wait for all files to sync
  • Start gnome-encfs-manager and set up a new stash
  • Set the directory to the previously created folder inside your Dropbox/Ubuntu
  • encfs-manager will detect the drive and import it
  • Set the mount directory wherever you want (default is fine) and click "Import"
  • edit the new stash as desdribed above
  • you will be asked for your password on first mount

Cross Platform compatibility:

  • This is cross compatible with Android when using Encdroid (open source, recommended) or Cryptonite (open source). Both Android Apps support Dropbox and should also work with UbuntuOne using local folder decryption (in combination with an UbuntuOne client which syncs your files onto the SD Card)

Older posts about this encryption system:

If you use BoxCryptor to encrypt (parts of) your Dropbox folder, an USB stick or an external harddisk and want to share the encrypted data with a computer running Linux or Mac OS X, a great feature of BoxCryptor is the compatibility with EncFS, an open-source cryptographic filesystem. As EncFS had some security issues in previous version, a prerequisite is to have EncFS version >= 1.7 installed. Unfortunatly Ubuntu and other Linux distributions still use older version of EncFS (e.g. 1.6) which can not be used to read files encrypted with BoxCryptor. This blog post will show you how to install and use the latest EncFS version 1.7.4 in Ubuntu Maverick. It will NOT work in Lucid Lynx, 10.04!

download it here or follow these instructions:

1. Start the Synaptic Package Manager

Click "System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager"

2. Add the repository for the upcoming Ubuntu Natty

Natty, the next version of Ubuntu, supports the latest version of EncFS and we can use its repository to install it.
Click"Settings > Repositories"
Click"Other Software > Add"
APT line: "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu natty main universe"
Close the dialog and reload the package information by clicking the "Reload" button

3. Install EncFS

Search for "encfs" and mark the encfs package all additional required packages for installation
Install the packages by clicking the "Apply" button
Tip: Also install cryptkeeper for a graphical interface to manage EncFS

4. Remove Ubuntu Natty repository

Choose "Settings > Repositories > Other Software"
Uncheck the Ubuntu Natty repositories

5. Start Cryptkeeper

Click "Applications > System Tools > Cryptkeeper"

6. Import the encrypted directory

Choose "Cryptkeeper > Import EncFS folder" in the notification area
Select the encrypted directory (the source directory for BoxCryptor)
Select a desired mount point where you want the unencrypted data to appear

7. Mount the encrypted directory

Choose "Cryptkeeper > [Mount point]" in the notification area
E.g, "Cryptkeeper > /home/robert/Documents/Safe"

Tip: If you prefer working on the command line, here are the necessary instructions to install and use EncFS 1.7.4 in Ubuntu Maverick:

Open a terminal
Add "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu natty main universe" to /etc/apt/sources.list
Enter "sudo apt-get update"
Enter "sudo apt-get install encfs"
Remove the Natty repository from /etc/apt/sources.list again
Enter "sudo apt-get update"
Enter "encfs [source dir] [destination mount point]"
E.g. "encfs ~/Dropbox/BoxCryptor/ ~/Safe"