Is an encrypted Linux file system really useless without the password?


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Jan 3, 2021
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It's all in the title, if someone has physical access to your desktop or you lose a laptop it's like you're losing a lifetime diary to an evil neighbor. Yes, evil with certainty, because he snakes on you, I don't need more info about him. Unless you are living in some kind of fortress desktops are in danger too.

Even if you lose just the names of some accounts they can lead to decades old history of yours, I'm sure this is the case for many of you, you don't want to lose that, no matter how good person you are, even Jesus Christ would use encryption today, we can't fool him second time. I don't want to hear about unencrypted Linux laptops again because it means that we don't take advantage of the wonders of it, if they are actually useless without passwords. So the question is: if I lose an encrypted machine,can any information be retrieved from it?
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Assuming the password/passphrase you used to generate the key is a long, strong, non-trivial one - then if you lose, or forget the password for your encrypted file-system, you're basically screwed - unless you've got a spare supercomputer hanging around that can spend the next 10,000 years or so cracking the password!

If you use a weak password then it could be cracked in a much shorter time. But who uses weak passwords nowadays?
So a combination of encryption and a quadruple deadbolt for the backup media I guess is the proper way to use computers, doesn't matter even if you lose the machine
Quite frankly, no computer system is completely secure, or secureable. Unless your PC/laptop has nuclear security codes, the bad guys are not going to be interested in your system as an acceptable target with any sort of reasonably complex security; it'll take too long to get in to make it worthwhile.

Be careful, but avoid paranoia - it's unhealthy.
Paranoia is an instinct or thought process which is believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of delusion and irrationality. Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself.
My subject in this thread is how to have a completely secure device, useless for everybody else that may have the device in his hands in the future. Ideally to be equally useless for unequipped thieves and agencies. If I can't get the second one then the first one. Don't consider your case as the standard, what it seems crazy to you maybe someone's else everyday routine.

And yes there is nothing important on my computer, it just matters to me, but they do care, trust me on that.
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Some quotes from Bruce Schneier:

  • I am regularly asked what the average Internet user can do to ensure his security. My first answer is usually 'Nothing; you're screwed'.
  • History has taught us: never underestimate the amount of money, time, and effort someone will expend to thwart a security system. It's always better to assume the worst. Assume your adversaries are better than they are. Assume science and technology will soon be able to do things they cannot yet. Give yourself a margin for error. Give yourself more security than you need today. When the unexpected happens, you'll be glad you did.
  • Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.
  • There are two kinds of cryptography in this world: cryptography that will stop your kid sister from reading your files, and cryptography that will stop major governments from reading your files.
  • Hardware is easy to protect: lock it in a room, chain it to a desk, or buy a spare. Information poses more of a problem. It can exist in more than one place; be transported halfway across the planet in seconds; and be stolen without your knowledge.
  • Only amateurs attack machines; professionals target people
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