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What's the most popular command to do such things as encrypting a file or directory in terminal in Linux?

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I think it would be gpg. The syntax for files and directories differs though.


For files(outputs filename.gpg):

gpg -c filename

For dirs:

gpg-zip -c -o file.gpg dirname


For files(outputs filename.gpg):

gpg filename.gpg

For dirs:

gpg-zip -d file.gpg

Edit: Corrected as @Mk12 pointed out the mistake of compression/decompression for encryption/decryption.

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Shouldn't that be "Encryption" and "Decryption"? – Mk12 Jul 27 '12 at 18:41
Thanks @Mk12. I must have been distracted to the utmost. :P – celebdor Aug 22 '12 at 15:27
Nobody has said how to encrypt a directory. – chovy Oct 18 '14 at 8:50
@chovy Not that above it says: For dirs: gpg-zip -c -o file.gpg dirname – celebdor Oct 20 '14 at 10:33
@celebdor missed that one. thanks. edit: that doesn't work for me. I get some weird encrypted output when I decrypt the file. – chovy Oct 24 '14 at 15:29
  • with openssl

openssl des3 -salt -in unencrypted-data.tar -out encrypted-data.tar.des3


openssl des3 -d -salt -in encrypted-data.tar.des3 -out unencrypted-data.tar

  • encrypt with AES

aescrypt -e -p password file.jpg


aescrypt -d -p password file.jpg.aes

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+1 for showing how to do it with openssl, which is most likely available out-of-the-box. – DevSolar Aug 22 '12 at 15:39

Try GnuPG.

To encrypt: gpg -c filename

To decrypt: gpg filename.gpg

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I personally use aescrypt mostly.

      aescrypt -e "File" 

and decrypt:

      aescrypt -d "File"

Or there's mcrypt:

      mcrypt "File" 

and decrypt:

      mcrypt -d "File"

And for a file, I suggest tar'ing the dir, and encrypting that. Then after unencrypting, just untar the file:

      tar -cf "Dir.tar" Dir/

and to untar

      tar -xf "Dir.tar"
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This is my method using openssl and tar

Open Encrypted Directory:

openssl enc -aes-256-cbc -d -in ~/vault.tar.gz.dat | tar xz; thunar ~/vault

Lock Encrypted Directory:

tar cz vault/ | openssl enc -aes-256-cbc -out ~/vault.tar.gz.dat; rm -r ~/vault
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