Linux Format

Encryption Trupax...............................

Nate Drake introduces the versatile Java utility that can encrypt your files in just three simple steps in a large container file.


A handy Java utility built on top of VeraCrypt that encrypts your files in three simple steps with the help of Nate Drake.

For non-crypto nerds, VeraCrypt is a program that enables you to create encrypted containers of any size, inside which you can place your personal photos, bank details or any other data for which the world isn’t ready. VeraCrypt mounts these containers with a password, which means only you can access your files. For the uber-paranoid there are even options to combine multiple encryption ciphers and use key files in addition to a password.

VeraCrypt does require you to have some idea in advance of the size of all the files you need. Once an encrypted container has been created, it’s not possible to resize it. What’s more, if you create a container in the full belief that there’s enough room for all your files and then find you don’t have enough space, there’s nothing to do but start the volume creation process all over again.

This is a nuisance at the best of times but is particular­ly frustratin­g if you choose to store your encrypted container with a cloud service such as Dropbox, as the upload process has to be restarted.

Trupax posits a solution to creating redundant, huge blocks of data on your machine. This Java app can be used to select files or folders before creating a volume and will create one of exactly the right size. There is even an option to add some more free space if you think you’ll need it.

In this tutorial, we will explore how to use TruPax to create an encrypted container of exactly the right size, then open it in VeraCrypt. In order to proceed, you’ll need Java installed on your machine (either the vanilla variety from Oracle of OpenJDK – see below). Once the volume is created, you’ll also need VeraCrypt pre-installed on your system to mount it.

VeraCrypt can be downloaded from http://veracrypt. The website itself has some excellent documentat­ion on getting started or you can see our previous tutorial in LXF218.

This tutorial was written for Ubuntu Linux but both Java and VeraCrypt are compatible with all Linux versions, so you should have no trouble running TruPax regardless.

Another great advantage of TruPax is that admin privileges are not required simply to create a volume or extract its contents elsewhere on the system. VeraCrypt will, however, require your admin password to mount the container so that you can edit your files.

One of the advantages TruPax has over VeraCrypt is that it’s extremely simple to use. Once the program has launched, simply click ‘Add Files’ or ‘Add Folder’ to load your data into the main window.

Once the files are added, you’ll see a notificati­on at the bottom of the window telling you how large your container will be. If you want space for more files, use the ‘Free Space’ box on the right-hand side of the window. This is quite intuitive and will recognise values such as ‘500m’ or ‘2g’.

Optionally you can give your volume a label. Before clicking the ‘Make Volume’ button at the bottom right, make sure to check ‘Wipe Afterwards’ if you want to securely delete the original files (see below). You’ll be asked to set a password for the volume, then

TruPax will begin to generate your container.

Wipe and extract

Unless you specifical­ly ask it not to, by unchecking the box ‘Wipe Afterwards’, TruPax will securely erase the original files after copying them into a secure container. Make sure before you begin that they are backed up to a safe place.

You can use File > Extract in the menu at the top left to make an unencrypte­d copy of your files, provided you know the password. As such, if you only want to encrypt files for long term storage, such as for backups, you may find that you don’t need to use VeraCrypt at all.

If, which is more likely, you want to be able to edit these files from time to time and add more to your container, you can still use TruPax to create the container initially and then actually mount it using VeraCrypt.

TruPax is written in Java and therefore needs a JRE (Java Runtime Environmen­t) installed on your machine. The tutorial lists how to add the repository for this on your machine as well as how to install Java 8, which is the minimum required for TruPax to run.

Security conscious people and/or those committed to truly free and open source software may prefer to install OpenJDK which is also developed by the good people of Oracle but contains no closed-source code. If you prefer to do this, ignore Step One of the tutorial and run the commands: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openjdk-r/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jre

If you are one of those people who goes straight to the tutorial before reading the main article (you know who you are), rest assured both Oracle’s Java RunTime Environmen­t and OpenJDK can live on the same machine happily together. Run the command sudo update-alternativ­es --config java if you want to change the default Java program to OpenJDK. Select the correct number, press ‘Enter’, then restart your machine to apply your changes.

Tru lies

TruPax in itself can only create encrypted containers for files and folders, then extract them all at once elsewhere. This isn’t very handy for day to day use, which is why we recommend using it in tandem with VeraCrypt.

Unlike VeraCrypt, TruPax cannot create hidden volumes, whereby you can have two passwords for the container – one which you can give to an adversary and leads to harmless data and another which leads to your real files. You can of course use VeraCrypt to create a hidden volume and copy your TruPax container there if you wish.

If you follow the steps in ‘TruPlax Plus’ to increase the security of your container through adding key files, you won’t be able to extract the contents using TruPax.

For more details about configurin­g TruPax, make sure to read the trupax_EN.html that you downloaded along with the program, or take yourself along to the developer’s website at www.coderslago­

 ??  ?? If the world isn’t ready to know you’re a military history buff, create a secure container for your magazine collection. Check ‘show password’ to display as you type.
If the world isn’t ready to know you’re a military history buff, create a secure container for your magazine collection. Check ‘show password’ to display as you type.
 ??  ?? Nate Drake is a freelance technology journalist who specialise­s in cybersecur­ity and retro tech.
Nate Drake is a freelance technology journalist who specialise­s in cybersecur­ity and retro tech.

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