Encryption Setup


To create a full encrypted disk system it is imperative that we have access to the initial OS installation. Creating after install is very complicated and should be avoided. If the machine fails, we would require full access to the terminal to input the disk encryption password to allow the machine to boot. Remote setups like Hetzner, make this complicated.

For this reason, it is much easier to encrypt a partition, which can be unencrypted after boot when network access is available.


Encryption only protects access to the physical disk. Once the machine/partition has been unlocked and mounted. Disk access is as normal.

Hetzner Setup

An example of a command run at hetzner to setup a machine:

$ installimage -n example.smashdocs.net -r yes -l 1 -i images/Ubuntu-1604-xenial-64-minimal.tar.gz -p /boot:ext2:512M,lvm:vg0:all -v vg0:root:/:ext4:40G,vg0:swap:swap:swap:4G -a

This creates an LVM partition, with a root partition of 40GB. Leaving the remainder of the disk empty for LVM configuration. (Normally the Hetzner LVM setup consumes the entire disk - shrinking disks is slow)

System Setup

After booting into the system….

  1. Install luks encryption manager:

$ apt-get install cryptsetup-luks
  1. Create lvm partition:

$ lvcreate --name secure -L 100G vg0
  1. Set password for partition:

$ cryptsetup -y luksFormat /dev/vg0/secure
  1. Open luks partition over lvm partition:

$ cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/vg0/secure secure
  1. Make filesystem on encrypted partition:

$ mkfs.ext4 -j /dev/mapper/secure
  1. Mount partition to be used:

$ mount /dev/mapper/secure /secure


On a restart, the partition will not be automatically unencrypted or mounted. It requires human intervention for password input and steps 4 and 6 above


In puppet we deploy init scripts that alert if the partition is not mounted.