Desktop file security configuration in Ubuntu Linux

This is just a walk-through for a friend of configuring basic desktop file security (encryption and secure deletion) on Ubuntu Linux. It was documented using the standard Desktop 16.04 build.

From a clean install do the following:

Open a terminal by clicking on the Ubuntu icon in the top left corner of your screen and typing “terminal”. Click on the icon labelled Terminal.

Install some packages by typing:

sudo apt install nautilus-actions 
sudo apt install wipe
sudo apt install seahorse
sudo apt install seahorse-nautilus

Or you can put it all on one line…

sudo apt install nautilus-actions wipe seahorse seahorse-nautilus

Then close down any running instance of Nautilus (very important) using the -q switch by typing:

nautilus -q

Now run seahorse, which cunningly disguises itself as a bunch of keys

Click on the green plus sign to add a new encryption key and select “PGP Key”:

Enter your details (it seems to require a two-part name) and click “Create”:

Then enter a passphrase. This should be a good, strong, passphrase. Make sure you will remember it…

If you didn’t see anything happening, simply click on “GnuPG keys” in the side menu to check that the key has been stored:

Now you can check that it’s working by creating a file of text and saving it to your Documents folder. I’ll leave you to work this one out for yourself!

Open Nautilus (“Files”/Filing Cabinet icon) and right-click on your chosen file. You should see the option “Encrypt…”

When prompted for encryption settings, select the key you created earlier and click OK.

The new, encrypted file will appear alongside the original. Now you need to set up a method of securely deleting the original…

Find and open Nautilus-Actions Configuration Tool using the menu as before…

Click on the little green “Add” icon in the top left corner of the window and enter a label for your secure deletion action.

Click on the Command tab and add the path and parameters for the programme. Then click on the green arrow (Save) icon and then the red icon to exit.

Now you need to quit Nautilus (see above) and restart it. You should now have an extra menu item when you right-click on a file:

Now, to decrypt your encrypted file, you simply right-click and select the relevant option.

Entering the passphrase you used when creating the key…

That should be it…

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