AES Crypt is a multi-platform open source encryption solution for those who are looking for a well-maintained TrueCrypt alternative. Of course, there’s VeraCrypt which is based on TrueCrypt but AES Crypt has a wider platform support and desktop integration (for Gnome & KDE). AES Crypt is a good alternative to utilities like ccrypt or mcrypt.
- 256 bit encryption algorithm
- Integrates with Gnome and KDE as a file-manager extension
- Available from the cmdline. Easy options.
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Supports Linux, Windows, Mac and Android
- Implementations available in C, C++, JAVA, C# and PHP
- APIs available to integrate in a custom solution
- Open source and available for audit
To install AES Crypt on Ubuntu, download the Linux GUI here. Download the one matching your OS architecture. Extract and run the installer with sudo. It will fire the GUI installer.
If AES Crypt integrates with your file manager, you’re good to go. If not, try PCManFM. Use the Open With… option and type in aescrypt-gui. However, you can also use the utilities from the cmdline.
AES Crypt can only handle a single file at a time. If you want to encrypt a directory with all contents you’ll have to archive it before encrypting. One of the examples below demonstrates this. Note that AES Crypt overwrites any file with the same name as the encrypted file in the directory.
- Encrypt a file:
$ aescrypt -e mysecrets.txt // password asked twice $ ls aescrypt.txt* mysecrets.txt mysecrets.txt.aes
- Decrypt the file:
$ aescrypt -d mysecrets.txt.aes
- Backup a directory using pipe:
$ tar -cvf - /home | aescrypt -e -p mypassword - >backup_files.tar.aes
- View a plaintext file without decrypting:
$ aescrypt -d -o - mysecrets.txt.aes
- Generate a key file with a password:
$ aescrypt_keygen -p mypassword secret.key
- Use the key file using the -k option:
$ tar -cvf - /home | aescrypt -e -k secret.key - >backup_files.tar.aes