6.10 Encrypting Storage with cryptsetup on Linux

6.10 Encrypting Storage with cryptsetup on Linux


In today's digital age, data security is of paramount importance. Whether you're a business owner safeguarding sensitive information or an individual protecting personal data, encrypting storage devices is a crucial step in maintaining data confidentiality. Linux offers robust encryption solutions through tools like cryptsetup, which supports both plain mode and Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) encryption. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore how to encrypt storage using both methods on a Linux system.

Understanding Disk Encryption

What is Disk Encryption?

Disk encryption is the process of securing data on a storage device by encrypting it. This prevents unauthorized access to the data, even if the device is lost, stolen, or accessed without permission.

Why Disk Encryption Matters

  • Protects sensitive data from unauthorized access.

  • Ensures confidentiality, especially for mobile devices and removable media.

  • Mitigates risks associated with data breaches and theft.

Encrypting Storage with Plain Mode

Overview of Plain Mode Encryption

Plain mode encryption involves encrypting the entire block device without any additional metadata. It is a straightforward method suitable for various use cases.

Steps to Encrypt Storage with Plain Mode

  1. Install cryptsetup: Ensure cryptsetup is installed on your Linux system.

  2. Open the Device: Use cryptsetup to open the device with the plain type and specify the source device and mapping name.

  3. Create Filesystem: Format the mapped device with the desired filesystem using tools like mkfs.

  4. Mount and Use: Mount the encrypted device and start using it as you would with any other storage.

Best Practices for Plain Mode Encryption

  • Use strong passphrases for encryption.

  • Regularly back up important data stored on encrypted devices.

  • Securely store encryption keys or passphrases.

Encrypting Storage with LUKS

Understanding LUKS Encryption

Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS) is a widely used disk encryption specification that offers advanced features such as passphrase strengthening and multiple key slots.

Steps to Encrypt Storage with LUKS

  1. Format the Device: Use cryptsetup luksFormat to format the storage device with LUKS encryption.

  2. Open the Device: Open the LUKS-encrypted device using cryptsetup open.

  3. Create Filesystem: Format the mapped device with a filesystem.

  4. Close the Device: Once done, close the mapped device using cryptsetup close.

Best Practices for LUKS Encryption

  • Choose strong encryption algorithms and key sizes.

  • Regularly rotate encryption keys and passphrases.

  • Store backup keys securely in case of passphrase loss.


Encrypting storage on Linux systems using tools like cryptsetup provides a robust layer of security to safeguard sensitive data. Whether you opt for plain mode encryption for simplicity or LUKS for advanced features, ensuring that your storage devices are encrypted is essential for maintaining data confidentiality. By following the steps outlined in this guide and adhering to best practices, you can effectively protect your data from unauthorized access and mitigate the risks of data breaches and theft.

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