Ivan Čukić

Encryption in KDE SC

Security in activities

There is something that a few people here and there have been requesting – having some automatic (UI) way to create encrypted folders to keep their sensitive data in.

The thing I’m going to talk about today is exactly that – starting with KDE SC 4.9 you’ll be able to decide to encrypt specific activities. When you do that, you’ll get a ~/Activities/Something folder that is password protected and encrypted using fuse/encfs.

The encryption/decription process will be done automatically on activity switching.

For example, lets say you have two activities – Leisure and MI5 – with the latter being an encrypted activity. When you switch to the MI5 activity, you’ll be asked for its password and you’ll be able to access the data. When you switch back to the Leisure activity, the system for the previous one will be automatically unmounted.

Plasma Active Three

One of the reasons behind this new feature is PA3. You’ll have a portable device that can be stolen, that could be used by your children (while being single-user) for fun etc. and you don’t want some data to be visible to them.

In the case of PA, since there is no file manager and we don’t want to expose the file-system to the user, every document that you link to the activity will be automatically moved to the encrypted folder.

Drawbacks

There are a couple features that will stop working with encrypted activities – you will not be able to search encrypted documents by contents since the contents will not be indexed by nepomuk, and documents will not be able to belong to multiple activities if one of them is encrypted.

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