User:c0h2r/Dm-crypt (Русский)/Шифрование

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This section covers how to manually utilize dm-crypt from the command line to encrypt a system.


До использования cryptsetup, убедитесь, что модуль kernel module dm_crypt загружен.

Использование cryptsetup

Cryptsetup - утилита коммандной строки для взаимодействия с dm-crypt для создания, доступа и управления шифродевайсами. Также утилита может работать с различными типами шифрования, реализованными как device-mapper-ы ядра Linux and the cryptographic modules (мм, окей, к чему это относится?). Самое полезное из таких расширений позволяет работать с Linux Unified Key Setup (LUKS), что хранит всю необходимую для dm-crypt информацию на самом диске и abstracts partition and key management in an attempt что позволяет сделать процесс использования максимально простым. Девайсы, доступ к которым осуществляется с помощью device-mapper называются блочными (девайсами). Для дальнейших разъяснений см. Data-at-rest encryption#Block device encryption.

Синтаксис вызова утилиты:

# cryptsetup <OPTIONS> <action> <action-specific-options> <device> <dmname>

Если некоторые из параметров не предоставлены, будут использованы дефолтные значения. См.

$ cryptsetup --help 

где перечислены параметры, действия и дефолтные значения способов шифрования (в таком порядке). Полный список опций доступен в man-уале. Поскольку в зависимости от типа шифрования список обязательных параметров может варьироваться, the following sections point out differences further. Blockdevice encryption is fast, but speed matters a lot too. Поскольку после начальной настройки изменить способ шифрования проблематично, имеет смысл протестировать производительность dm-crypt с выбранными параметрами заранее:

$ cryptsetup benchmark 

может дать рекомендации по выбору алгоритма и размера ключа перед установкой. Если некоторые типы AES оказываются быстрее со значительным перевесом, то они, вероятно, имеют аппаратную поддержку в процессоре.

Tip: Возможно, сперва вам следует попрактиковаться с шифрованием на virtual machine.

Пароли и ключи cryptsetup

Зашифрованные блочные девайсы защищены ключем, который может быть:

В обоих случаях есть дефолтный максимальный размер ключа: длина пароля - до 512 символов, размер ключ-файла - до 8192КБ.

Важной отличительной особенностью LUKS является тот факт, что ключ используется для доступа к т.н. мастер-ключу, и, как следствие, имеется возможность (с правами root) его изменить. Другие способы шифрования не поддерживают изменение ключа, т.к. в них для шифрования не используется мастер-ключ. См. Data-at-rest encryption#Block device encryption.

Encryption options with dm-crypt

Cryptsetup supports different encryption operating modes to use with dm-crypt:

  • --type luks for using the default LUKS format version (LUKS1 with cryptsetup < 2.1.0, LUKS2 with cryptsetup ≥ 2.1.0),
  • --type luks1 for using LUKS1, the most common version of LUKS,
  • --type luks2 for using LUKS2, the latest available version of LUKS that allows additional extensions,
  • --type plain for using dm-crypt plain mode,
  • --type loopaes for a loopaes legacy mode,
  • --type tcrypt for a TrueCrypt compatibility mode.

The basic cryptographic options for encryption cipher and hashes available can be used for all modes and rely on the kernel cryptographic backend features. All that are loaded and available to use as options at runtime can be viewed with:

$ less /proc/crypto 
Tip: If the list is short, execute $ cryptsetup benchmark which will trigger loading available modules.

The following introduces encryption options for the luks, luks1, luks2 and plain modes. Note that the tables list options used in the respective examples in this article and not all available ones.

Encryption options for LUKS mode

The cryptsetup action to set up a new dm-crypt device in LUKS encryption mode is luksFormat. Unlike what the name implies, it does not format the device, but sets up the LUKS device header and encrypts the master-key with the desired cryptographic options.

In order to create a new LUKS container with the compiled-in defaults listed by cryptsetup --help, simply execute:

# cryptsetup luksFormat device

As of cryptsetup 2.3.4, this is equivalent to:

# cryptsetup --type luks2 --cipher aes-xts-plain64 --hash sha256 --iter-time 2000 --key-size 256 --pbkdf argon2i --sector-size 512 --use-urandom --verify-passphrase luksFormat device

Defaults are compared with a cryptographically higher specification example in the table below, with accompanying comments:

Options Cryptsetup 2.1.0 defaults Example Comment


aes-xts-plain64 aes-xts-plain64 Release 1.6.0 changed the defaults to an AES cipher in XTS mode (see item 5.16 of the FAQ). It is advised against using the previous default --cipher aes-cbc-essiv because of its known issues and practical attacks against them.


256 (512 for XTS) 512 By default a 512 bit key-size is used for XTS ciphers. Note however that XTS splits the supplied key in half, so this results in AES-256 being used.


sha256 sha512 Hash algorithm used for key derivation. Release 1.7.0 changed defaults from sha1 to sha256 "not for security reasons [but] mainly to prevent compatibility problems on hardened systems where SHA1 is already [being] phased out"[1]. The former default of sha1 can still be used for compatibility with older versions of cryptsetup since it is considered secure (see item 5.20).


2000 5000 Number of milliseconds to spend with PBKDF2 passphrase processing. Release 1.7.0 changed defaults from 1000 to 2000 to "try to keep PBKDF2 iteration count still high enough and also still acceptable for users."[2]. This option is only relevant for LUKS operations that set or change passphrases, such as luksFormat or luksAddKey. Specifying 0 as parameter selects the compiled-in default..
--use-{u,}random --use-urandom --use-random Selects which random number generator to use. Quoting the cryptsetup manual page: "In a low-entropy situation (e.g. in an embedded system), both selections are problematic. Using /dev/urandom can lead to weak keys. Using /dev/random can block a long time, potentially forever, if not enough entropy can be harvested by the kernel."


Yes - Enabled by default in Arch Linux for luksFormat and luksAddKey.

The properties of LUKS features and options are described in the LUKS1 (pdf) and LUKS2 (pdf) specifications.

Tip: The project developers' devconfcz2016 (pdf) presentation summarizes the motivation for the major specification update to LUKS2.

Choice of argon2 variant for PBKDF

Although argon2id is in most cases the preferred variant of the Argon2 family, the quoted RFC does indicate that:

Argon2i uses data-independent memory access, which is preferred for password hashing and password-based key derivation.

We can also see this reflected in this mailing list answer by cryptsetup maintainer Milan Broz:

You can use Argon2id though (combination of data dependent and independent processing). I prefer Argon2i for key derivation, but opinions differ here.

Therefore it is recommended to keep the default as is so as not to inadvertently decrease security.

Iteration time

From cryptsetup FAQ§2.1 and §3.4:

The unlock time for a key-slot [...] is calculated when setting a passphrase. By default it is 1 second (2 seconds for LUKS2). [...]
Passphrase iteration count is based on time and hence security level depends on CPU power of the system the LUKS container is created on. [...]
If you set a passphrase on a fast machine and then unlock it on a slow machine, the unlocking time can be much longer.

As such, it is better to always create a container on the machine where it will be most often accessed.

Read the rest of those sections for advice on how to correctly adjust the iteration count should the need arise.

Sector size

Warning: The filesystem to be used inside the LUKS container must also be formatted with the same sector size.

For drives with Advanced Format (also known as AF, 4K, 4096 byte sector drives) sectors it is recommended to use the appropriate physical sector size. In particular shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives that are firmware-managed are negatively impacted if using a logical sector size of 512 bytes if their physical sector size is of 4096 bytes.

cryptsetup(8) § OPTIONS description for --sector-size indicates that: "Increasing sector size from 512 bytes to 4096 bytes can provide better performance on most of the modern storage devices and also with some hw encryption accelerators" (see the rest of the description for caveats to be aware of).

In a comment from 2019[3], the following reason is given for why the default was not switched over to 4K sector:

  1. Compatibility with old kernels and cryptsetup versions. The 4K encryption sector support is still fairly new, after all.
  2. It’s not guaranteed safe on disks with 512-byte sectors, as it can break atomicity guarantees that might be assumed by software. I don’t believe this is a problem on modern disks or flash storage, nor on ext4 or f2fs. But the cryptsetup default needs to be more conservative.

To create a LUKS2 container with a 4K sector size and otherwise default options:

# cryptsetup luksFormat --sector-size 4096 device

The command will abort on an error if the requested size does not match your device:

# cryptsetup luksFormat --sector-size 4096 device
Verify passphrase: 
Device size is not aligned to requested sector size.
Note: See [4] for why the command may fail while the underlying drive does use 4K physical sectors.

Afterwards format the mapped container using the same sector size, for example with btrfs:

# mkfs.btrfs -s 4096 /dev/mapper/mapped_device

Encryption options for plain mode

In dm-crypt plain mode, there is no master-key on the device, hence, there is no need to set it up. Instead the encryption options to be employed are used directly to create the mapping between an encrypted disk and a named device. The mapping can be created against a partition or a full device. In the latter case not even a partition table is needed.

To create a plain mode mapping with cryptsetup's default parameters:

# cryptsetup <options> open --type plain <device> <dmname>

Executing it will prompt for a password, which should have very high entropy. Below a comparison of default parameters with the example in dm-crypt/Encrypting an entire system#Plain dm-crypt

Option Cryptsetup 2.1.0 defaults Example Comment


ripemd160 - The hash is used to create the key from the passphrase; it is not used on a keyfile.


aes-cbc-essiv:sha256 aes-xts-plain64 The cipher consists of three parts: cipher-chainmode-IV generator. Please see Data-at-rest encryption#Ciphers and modes of operation for an explanation of these settings, and the DMCrypt documentation for some of the options available.


256 512 The key size (in bits). The size will depend on the cipher being used and also the chainmode in use. Xts mode requires twice the key size of cbc.


real size of target disk 2048 (mapped device will be 512B×2048=1MiB) Limit the maximum size of the device (in 512-byte sectors).


0 0 The offset from the beginning of the target disk (in 512-byte sectors) from which to start the mapping.


0 2048 (512B×2048=1MiB will be skipped) The number of 512-byte sectors of encrypted data to skip at the beginning.


default uses a passphrase /dev/sdZ (or e.g. /boot/keyfile.enc) The device or file to be used as a key. See #Keyfiles for further details.
--keyfile-offset 0 0 Offset from the beginning of the file where the key starts (in bytes). This option is supported from cryptsetup 1.6.7 onwards.


8192kB - (default applies) Limits the bytes read from the key file. This option is supported from cryptsetup 1.6.7 onwards.

Using the device /dev/sdX, the above right column example results in:

# cryptsetup --cipher=aes-xts-plain64 --offset=0 --key-file=/dev/sdZ --key-size=512 open --type=plain /dev/sdX enc

Unlike encrypting with LUKS, the above command must be executed in full whenever the mapping needs to be re-established, so it is important to remember the cipher, hash and key file details. We can now check that the mapping has been made:

# fdisk -l

An entry should now exist for /dev/mapper/enc.

Encrypting devices with cryptsetup

This section shows how to employ the options for creating new encrypted blockdevices and accessing them manually.

Warning: GRUB does not support LUKS2 headers; see GRUB bug #55093. Therefore, if you plan to unlock an encrypted boot partition with GRUB, specify --type luks1 on encrypted devices that GRUB will need to access.

Encrypting devices with LUKS mode

Formatting LUKS partitions

In order to setup a partition as an encrypted LUKS partition execute:

# cryptsetup luksFormat device

You will then be prompted to enter a password and verify it.

See #Encryption options for LUKS mode for command line options.

You can check the results with:

# cryptsetup luksDump device

You will note that the dump not only shows the cipher header information, but also the key-slots in use for the LUKS partition.

The following example will create an encrypted root partition on /dev/sda1 using the default AES cipher in XTS mode with an effective 256-bit encryption

# cryptsetup -s 512 luksFormat /dev/sda1
Using LUKS to format partitions with a keyfile

When creating a new LUKS encrypted partition, a keyfile may be associated with the partition on its creation using:

# cryptsetup luksFormat device /path/to/mykeyfile

See #Keyfiles for instructions on how to generate and manage keyfiles.

Unlocking/Mapping LUKS partitions with the device mapper

Once the LUKS partitions have been created, they can then be unlocked.

The unlocking process will map the partitions to a new device name using the device mapper. This alerts the kernel that device is actually an encrypted device and should be addressed through LUKS using the /dev/mapper/dm_name so as not to overwrite the encrypted data. To guard against accidental overwriting, read about the possibilities to backup the cryptheader after finishing setup.

In order to open an encrypted LUKS partition execute:

# cryptsetup open device dm_name

You will then be prompted for the password to unlock the partition. Usually the device mapped name is descriptive of the function of the partition that is mapped. For example the following unlocks a luks partition /dev/sda1 and maps it to device mapper named cryptroot:

# cryptsetup open /dev/sda1 cryptroot 

Once opened, the root partition device address would be /dev/mapper/cryptroot instead of the partition (e.g. /dev/sda1).

For setting up LVM ontop the encryption layer the device file for the decrypted volume group would be anything like /dev/mapper/cryptroot instead of /dev/sda1. LVM will then give additional names to all logical volumes created, e.g. /dev/lvmpool/root and /dev/lvmpool/swap.

In order to write encrypted data into the partition it must be accessed through the device mapped name. The first step of access will typically be to create a filesystem. For example:

# mkfs -t ext4 /dev/mapper/cryptroot

The device /dev/mapper/cryptroot can then be mounted like any other partition.

To close the LUKS container, unmount the partition and do:

# cryptsetup close cryptroot

Using a TPM to store keys

See Trusted Platform Module#Data-at-rest encryption using Clevis and LUKS.

Encrypting devices with plain mode

The creation and subsequent access of a dm-crypt plain mode encryption both require not more than using the cryptsetup open action with correct parameters. The following shows that with two examples of non-root devices, but adds a quirk by stacking both (i.e. the second is created inside the first). Obviously, stacking the encryption doubles overhead. The usecase here is simply to illustrate another example of the cipher option usage.

A first mapper is created with cryptsetup's plain-mode defaults, as described in the table's left column above

# cryptsetup --type plain -v open /dev/sdaX plain1
Enter passphrase: 
Command successful.

Now we add the second blockdevice inside it, using different encryption parameters and with an (optional) offset, create a filesystem and mount it

# cryptsetup --type plain --cipher=serpent-xts-plain64 --hash=sha256 --key-size=256 --offset=10  open /dev/mapper/plain1 plain2
Enter passphrase:
# lsblk -p
 │ └─/dev/mapper/plain1     
 │   └─/dev/mapper/plain2              
# mkfs -t ext2 /dev/mapper/plain2
# mount -t ext2 /dev/mapper/plain2 /mnt
# echo "This is stacked. one passphrase per foot to shoot." > /mnt/stacked.txt

We close the stack to check access works

# cryptsetup close plain2
# cryptsetup close plain1

First, let us try to open the filesystem directly:

# cryptsetup --type plain --cipher=serpent-xts-plain64 --hash=sha256 --key-size=256 --offset=10 open /dev/sdaX plain2
# mount -t ext2 /dev/mapper/plain2 /mnt
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/mapper/plain2,
      missing codepage or helper program, or other error

Why that did not work? Because the "plain2" starting block (10) is still encrypted with the cipher from "plain1". It can only be accessed via the stacked mapper. The error is arbitrary though, trying a wrong passphrase or wrong options will yield the same. For dm-crypt plain mode, the open action will not error out itself.

Trying again in correct order:

# cryptsetup close plain2    # dysfunctional mapper from previous try
# cryptsetup --type plain open /dev/sdaX plain1
Enter passphrase:
# cryptsetup --type plain --cipher=serpent-xts-plain64 --hash=sha256 --key-size=256 --offset=10 open /dev/mapper/plain1 plain2
Enter passphrase:
# mount /dev/mapper/plain2 /mnt && cat /mnt/stacked.txt
This is stacked. one passphrase per foot to shoot.

dm-crypt will handle stacked encryption with some mixed modes too. For example LUKS mode could be stacked on the "plain1" mapper. Its header would then be encrypted inside "plain1" when that is closed.

Available for plain mode only is the option --shared. With it a single device can be segmented into different non-overlapping mappers. We do that in the next example, using a loopaes compatible cipher mode for "plain2" this time:

# cryptsetup --type plain --offset 0 --size 1000 open /dev/sdaX plain1
Enter passphrase:
# cryptsetup --type plain --offset 1000 --size 1000 --shared --cipher=aes-cbc-lmk --hash=sha256 open /dev/sdaX plain2
Enter passphrase:
# lsblk -p
│ ├─/dev/mapper/plain1     
│ └─/dev/mapper/plain2     

As the devicetree shows both reside on the same level, i.e. are not stacked and "plain2" can be opened individually.

Cryptsetup actions specific for LUKS

Key management

It is possible to define addition keys for the LUKS partition. This enables the user to create access keys for safe backup storage In so-called key escrow, one key is used for daily usage, another kept in escrow to gain access to the partition in case the daily passphrase is forgotten or a keyfile is lost/damaged. A different key-slot could also be used to grant access to a partition to a user by issuing a second key and later revoking it again.

Once an encrypted partition has been created, the initial keyslot 0 is created (if no other was specified manually). Additional keyslots are numbered from 1 to 7. Which keyslots are used can be seen by issuing

# cryptsetup luksDump /dev/<device>

Where <device> is the volume containing the LUKS header. This and all the following commands in this section work on header backup files as well.

Adding LUKS keys

Adding new keyslots is accomplished using cryptsetup with the luksAddKey action. For safety it will always, i.e. also for already unlocked devices, ask for a valid existing key ("any passphrase") before a new one may be entered:

# cryptsetup luksAddKey /dev/<device> (/path/to/<additionalkeyfile>)
Enter any passphrase:
Enter new passphrase for key slot:
Verify passphrase: 

If /path/to/<additionalkeyfile> is given, cryptsetup will add a new keyslot for <additionalkeyfile>. Otherwise a new passphrase will be prompted for twice. For using an existing keyfile to authorize the action, the --key-file or -d option followed by the "old" <keyfile> will try to unlock all available keyfile keyslots:

# cryptsetup luksAddKey /dev/<device> (/path/to/<additionalkeyfile>) -d /path/to/<keyfile>

If it is intended to use multiple keys and change or revoke them, the --key-slot or -S option may be used to specify the slot:

# cryptsetup luksAddKey /dev/<device> -S 6
Enter any passphrase: 
Enter new passphrase for key slot: 
Verify passphrase:
# cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sda8 | grep 'Slot 6'
Key Slot 6: ENABLED

To show an associated action in this example, we decide to change the key right away:

# cryptsetup luksChangeKey /dev/<device> -S 6
Enter LUKS passphrase to be changed: 
Enter new LUKS passphrase:

before continuing to remove it.

Removing LUKS keys

There are three different actions to remove keys from the header:

  • luksRemoveKey is used to remove a key by specifying its passphrase/key-file.
  • luksKillSlot may be used to remove a key from a specific key slot (using another key). Obviously, this is extremely useful if you have forgotten a passphrase, lost a key-file, or have no access to it.
  • luksErase is used to quickly remove all active keys.
  • All above actions can be used to irrevocably delete the last active key for an encrypted device!
  • The luksErase command was added in version 1.6.4 to quickly nuke access to the device. This action will not prompt for a valid passphrase! It will not wipe the LUKS header, but all keyslots at once and you will, therefore, not be able to regain access unless you have a valid backup of the LUKS header.

For above warning it is good to know the key we want to keep is valid. An easy check is to unlock the device with the -v option, which will specify which slot it occupies:

# cryptsetup -v open /dev/<device> testcrypt
Enter passphrase for /dev/<device>: 
Key slot 1 unlocked.
Command successful.

Now we can remove the key added in the previous subsection using its passphrase:

# cryptsetup luksRemoveKey /dev/<device>
Enter LUKS passphrase to be deleted:

If we had used the same passphrase for two keyslots, the first slot would be wiped now. Only executing it again would remove the second one.

Alternatively, we can specify the key slot:

# cryptsetup luksKillSlot /dev/<device> 6
Enter any remaining LUKS passphrase:

Note that in both cases, no confirmation was required.

# cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sda8 | grep 'Slot 6'
Key Slot 6: DISABLED

To re-iterate the warning above: If the same passphrase had been used for key slots 1 and 6, both would be gone now.

Backup and restore

If the header of a LUKS encrypted partition gets destroyed, you will not be able to decrypt your data. It is just as much of a dilemma as forgetting the passphrase or damaging a key-file used to unlock the partition. Damage may occur by your own fault while re-partitioning the disk later or by third-party programs misinterpreting the partition table. Therefore, having a backup of the header and storing it on another disk might be a good idea.

Note: If one of the LUKS-encrypted partitions' passphrases becomes compromised, you must revoke it on every copy of the cryptheader, even those you have backed up. Otherwise, a copy of the backed-up cryptheader that uses the compromised passphrase can be used to determine the master key which in turn can be used to decrypt the associated partition (even your actual partition, not only the backed-up version). On the other hand, if the master key gets compromised, you have to reencrypt your whole partition. See LUKS FAQ for further details.

Backup using cryptsetup

Cryptsetup's luksHeaderBackup action stores a binary backup of the LUKS header and keyslot area:

# cryptsetup luksHeaderBackup /dev/<device> --header-backup-file /mnt/<backup>/<file>.img

where <device> is the partition containing the LUKS volume.

You can also back up the plaintext header into ramfs and encrypt it with e.g. GPG before writing it to persistent storage:

# mkdir /root/<tmp>/
# mount ramfs /root/<tmp>/ -t ramfs
# cryptsetup luksHeaderBackup /dev/<device> --header-backup-file /root/<tmp>/<file>.img
# gpg2 --recipient <User ID> --encrypt /root/<tmp>/<file>.img 
# cp /root/<tmp>/<file>.img.gpg /mnt/<backup>/
# umount /root/<tmp>
Warning: Tmpfs can swap to harddisk if low on memory so it is not recommended here.

Restore using cryptsetup

Warning: Restoring the wrong header or restoring to an unencrypted partition will cause data loss! The action can not perform a check whether the header is actually the correct one for that particular device.

In order to evade restoring a wrong header, you can ensure it does work by using it as a remote --header first:

# cryptsetup -v --header /mnt/<backup>/<file>.img open /dev/<device> test
Key slot 0 unlocked.
Command successful.
# mount /dev/mapper/test /mnt/test && ls /mnt/test 
# umount /mnt/test 
# cryptsetup close test 

Now that the check succeeded, the restore may be performed:

# cryptsetup luksHeaderRestore /dev/<device> --header-backup-file ./mnt/<backup>/<file>.img

Now that all the keyslot areas are overwritten; only active keyslots from the backup file are available after issuing the command.

Manual backup and restore

The header always resides at the beginning of the device and a backup can be performed without access to cryptsetup as well. First you have to find out the payload offset of the crypted partition:

# cryptsetup luksDump /dev/<device> | grep "Payload offset"
Payload offset:	4040

Second check the sector size of the drive

# fdisk -l /dev/<device> | grep "Sector size"
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Now that you know the values, you can backup the header with a simple dd command:

# dd if=/dev/<device> of=/path/to/<file>.img bs=512 count=4040

and store it safely.

A restore can then be performed using the same values as when backing up:

# dd if=./<file>.img of=/dev/<device> bs=512 count=4040

Re-encrypting devices

This article or section needs expansion.

Reason: cryptsetup 2.2 using LUKS2 (with a 16 MiB header) supports online encryption/decryption/reencryption.[5] (Discuss in User talk:C0h2r/Dm-crypt (Русский)/Шифрование)

The cryptsetup package features two options for re-encryption.

cryptsetup reencrypt
Argument to cryptsetup itself: Preferred method. Currently LUKS2 devices only. Actions can be performed online. Supports multiple parallel re-encryption jobs. Resilient to system failures. See cryptsetup(8) for more information.
Legacy tool, supports LUKS1 in addition to LUKS2. Actions can be performed on unmounted devices only. Single process at a time. Sensitive to system failures. See cryptsetup-reencrypt(8) for more information.

Both can be used to convert an existing unencrypted filesystem to a LUKS encrypted one or permanently remove LUKS encryption from a device (using --decrypt). As its name suggests it can also be used to re-encrypt an existing LUKS encrypted device, though, re-encryption is not possible for a detached LUKS header or other encryption modes (e.g. plain-mode). For re-encryption it is possible to change the #Encryption options for LUKS mode.

One application of re-encryption may be to secure the data again after a passphrase or keyfile has been compromised and one cannot be certain that no copy of the LUKS header has been obtained. For example, if only a passphrase has been shoulder-surfed but no physical/logical access to the device happened, it would be enough to change the respective passphrase/key only (#Key management).

Warning: Always make sure a reliable backup is available and double-check options you specify before using the tool!

The following shows an example to encrypt an unencrypted filesystem partition and a re-encryption of an existing LUKS device.

Encrypt an existing unencrypted filesystem

A LUKS encryption header is always stored at the beginning of the device. Since an existing filesystem will usually be allocated all partition sectors, the first step is to shrink it to make space for the LUKS header.

This article or section needs expansion.

Reason: cryptsetup man pages suggest using twice the LUKS2 header size. That implies 32MiB and using --reduce-device-size 32M (Discuss in User talk:C0h2r/Dm-crypt (Русский)/Шифрование)

The default LUKS2 header requires 16 MiB. If the current filesystem occupies all the available space, we'll have to shrink it at least that much. To shrink an existing ext4 filesystem on /dev/sdaX to its current possible minimum:

# umount /mnt
# e2fsck -f /dev/sdaX
e2fsck 1.43-WIP (18-May-2015)
Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks, and sizes
/dev/sda6: 12/166320 files (0.0% non-contiguous), 28783/665062 blocks
# resize2fs -p -M /dev/sdaX
resize2fs 1.43-WIP (18-May-2015)
Resizing the filesystem on /dev/sdaX to 26347 (4k) blocks.
The filesystem on /dev/sdaX is now 26347 (4k) blocks long.

Note that shrinking to the minimum size might take very long. You might want to calculate a size just 32MiB smaller than the current size instead of using -M.

Now we encrypt it, using the default cipher we do not have to specify it explicitly:

# cryptsetup reencrypt --encrypt --reduce-device-size 16M /dev/sdaX

This will overwrite data on irrevocably.

Are you sure? (Type 'yes' in capital letters): YES
Enter passphrase for 
Verify passphrase: 

After it finished, the whole /dev/sdaX partition is encrypted, not only the space the filesystem was shrunk to. As a final step we extend the original ext4 filesystem to occupy all available space again, on the now encrypted partition:

# cryptsetup open /dev/sdaX recrypt
Enter passphrase for /dev/sdaX: 
# resize2fs /dev/mapper/recrypt
resize2fs 1.43-WIP (18-May-2015)
Resizing the filesystem on /dev/mapper/recrypt to 664807 (4k) blocks.
The filesystem on /dev/mapper/recrypt is now 664807 (4k) blocks long.
# mount /dev/mapper/recrypt /mnt

The filesystem is now ready to use. You may want to add it to your crypttab.

Re-encrypting an existing LUKS partition

In this example an existing LUKS device is re-encrypted.

Warning: Double-check you specify encryption options for correctly and never re-encrypt without a reliable backup!

In order to re-encrypt a device with its existing encryption options, they do not need to be specified:

# cryptsetup reencrypt /dev/sdaX
Note: For LUKS1 we'll need to use the legacy tool:
# cryptsetup-reencrypt /dev/sdaX

Existing keys are retained when re-encrypting a device with a different cipher and/or hash. Another use case is to re-encrypt LUKS devices which have non-current encryption options. Apart from above warning on specifying options correctly, the ability to change the LUKS header may also be limited by its size. For example, if the device was initially encrypted using a CBC mode cipher and 128 bit key-size, the LUKS header will be half the size of above mentioned 4096 sectors:

# cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sdaX |grep -e "mode" -e "Payload" -e "MK bits"
Cipher mode:   	cbc-essiv:sha256
Payload offset:	2048
MK bits:       	128

While it is possible to upgrade the encryption of such a device, it is currently only feasible in two steps. First, re-encrypting with the same encryption options, but using the --reduce-device-size option to make further space for the larger LUKS header. Second, re-encypt the whole device again with the desired cipher. For this reason and the fact that a backup should be created in any case, creating a new, fresh encrypted device to restore into is always the faster option.

Resizing encrypted devices

This article or section needs expansion.

Reason: This section should be rewritten to introduce resizing more generically. Perhaps work on it together with Resizing LVM-on-LUKS. (Discuss in User talk:C0h2r/Dm-crypt (Русский)/Шифрование)

If a storage device encrypted with dm-crypt is being cloned (with a tool like dd) to another larger device, the underlying dm-crypt device must be resized to use the whole space.

The destination device is /dev/sdX2 in this example, the whole available space adjacent to the partition will be used:

# cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdX2 sdX2
# cryptsetup resize sdX2

Then the underlying filesystem must be resized.

Loopback filesystem

Assume that an encrypted loopback filesystem is stored in a file /bigsecret, looped to /dev/loop0, mapped to secret and mounted on /mnt/secret, as in the example at dm-crypt/Encrypting a non-root file system#File container.

If the container file is currently mapped and/or mounted, unmount and/or close it:

# umount /mnt/secret
# cryptsetup close secret
# losetup -d /dev/loop0

Next, expand the container file with the size of the data you want to add. In this example, the file will be expanded with 1M * 1024, which is 1G.

Warning: Make absolutely sure to use two >, instead of just one, or else you will overwrite the file instead of appending to it. Making a backup before this step is strongly recommended.
# dd if=/dev/urandom bs=1M count=1024 | cat - >> /bigsecret

Now map the container to the loop device:

# losetup /dev/loop0 /bigsecret
# cryptsetup open /dev/loop0 secret

After this, resize the encrypted part of the container to the new maximum size of the container file:

# cryptsetup resize secret

Finally, perform a filesystem check and, if it is ok, resize it (example for ext2/3/4):

# e2fsck -f /dev/mapper/secret
# resize2fs /dev/mapper/secret

You can now mount the container again:

# mount /dev/mapper/secret /mnt/secret

Integrity protected device

If the device was formatted with integrity support (e.g., --integrity hmac-sha256) and the backing block device is shrinked, it cannot be opened with this error: device-mapper: reload ioctl on failed: Invalid argument.

To fix this issue without wiping the device again, it can be formatted with the previous master key (keeping the per-sector tags valid).

# cryptsetup luksDump /dev/sdX2 --dump-master-key --master-key-file=/tmp/masterkey-in-tmpfs.key
# cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/sdX2 --type luks2 --integrity hmac-sha256 --master-key-file=/tmp/masterkey-in-tmpfs.key --integrity-no-wipe
# rm /tmp/masterkey-in-tmpfs.key


Note: This section describes using a plaintext keyfile. If you want to encrypt your keyfile giving you two factor authentication see Using GPG or OpenSSL Encrypted Keyfiles for details, but please still read this section.

What is a keyfile?

A keyfile is a file whose data is used as the passphrase to unlock an encrypted volume. That means if such a file is lost or changed, decrypting the volume may no longer be possible.

Tip: Define a passphrase in addition to the keyfile for backup access to encrypted volumes in the event the defined keyfile is lost or changed.

Why use a keyfile?

There are many kinds of keyfiles. Each type of keyfile used has benefits and disadvantages summarized below:

Types of keyfiles


This is a keyfile containing a simple passphrase. The benefit of this type of keyfile is that if the file is lost the data it contained is known and hopefully easily remembered by the owner of the encrypted volume. However the disadvantage is that this does not add any security over entering a passphrase during the initial system start.

Example: 1234

Note: The keyfile containing the passphrase must not have a newline in it. One option is to create it using
# echo -n 'your_passphrase' > /path/to/<keyfile>
# chown root:root /path/to/<keyfile>; chmod 400 /path/to/<keyfile>

If the file contains special characters such as a backslash, rather than escaping these, it is recommended to simply edit the key file directly entering or pasting the passphrase and then remove the trailing newline with a handy perl one-liner:

# perl -pi -e 'chomp if eof' /path/to/<keyfile>


This is a keyfile containing a block of random characters. The benefit of this type of keyfile is that it is much more resistant to dictionary attacks than a simple passphrase. An additional strength of keyfiles can be utilized in this situation which is the length of data used. Since this is not a string meant to be memorized by a person for entry, it is trivial to create files containing thousands of random characters as the key. The disadvantage is that if this file is lost or changed, it will most likely not be possible to access the encrypted volume without a backup passphrase.

Example: fjqweifj830149-57 819y4my1-38t1934yt8-91m 34co3;t8y;9p3y-


This is a binary file that has been defined as a keyfile. When identifying files as candidates for a keyfile, it is recommended to choose files that are relatively static such as photos, music, video clips. The benefit of these files is that they serve a dual function which can make them harder to identify as keyfiles. Instead of having a text file with a large amount of random text, the keyfile would look like a regular image file or music clip to the casual observer. The disadvantage is that if this file is lost or changed, it will most likely not be possible to access the encrypted volume without a backup passphrase. Additionally, there is a theoretical loss of randomness when compared to a randomly generated text file. This is due to the fact that images, videos and music have some intrinsic relationship between neighboring bits of data that does not exist for a random text file. However this is controversial and has never been exploited publicly.

Example: images, text, video, ...

Creating a keyfile with random characters

Storing the keyfile on a filesystem

A keyfile can be of arbitrary content and size.

Here dd is used to generate a keyfile of 2048 random bytes, storing it in the file /etc/mykeyfile:

# dd bs=512 count=4 if=/dev/random of=/etc/mykeyfile iflag=fullblock

If you are planning to store the keyfile on an external device, you can also simply change the outputfile to the corresponding directory:

# dd bs=512 count=4 if=/dev/random of=/media/usbstick/mykeyfile iflag=fullblock

To deny any access for other users than root:

# chmod 600 /etc/mykeyfile
Securely overwriting stored keyfiles

If you stored your temporary keyfile on a physical storage device, and want to delete it, remember to not just remove the keyfile later on, but use something like

# shred --remove --zero mykeyfile

to securely overwrite it. For overaged filesystems like FAT or ext2 this will suffice while in the case of journaling filesystems, flash memory hardware and other cases it is highly recommended to wipe the entire device.

Storing the keyfile in ramfs

Alternatively, you can mount a ramfs for storing the keyfile temporarily:

# mkdir /root/myramfs
# mount ramfs /root/myramfs/ -t ramfs
# cd /root/myramfs

The advantage is that it resides in RAM and not on a physical disk, therefore it can not be recovered after unmounting the ramfs. After copying the keyfile to another secure and persistent filesystem, unmount the ramfs again with

# umount /root/myramfs

Configuring LUKS to make use of the keyfile

Add a keyslot for the keyfile to the LUKS header:

# cryptsetup luksAddKey /dev/sda2 /etc/mykeyfile
Enter any LUKS passphrase:
key slot 0 unlocked.
Command successful.

Manually unlocking a partition using a keyfile

Use the --key-file option when opening the LUKS device:

# cryptsetup open /dev/sda2 dm_name --key-file /etc/mykeyfile

Unlocking the root partition at boot

This is simply a matter of configuring mkinitcpio to include the necessary modules or files and configuring the cryptkey kernel parameter to know where to find the keyfile.

Two cases are covered below:

  1. Using a keyfile stored on an external medium (e.g. a USB stick)
  2. Using a keyfile embedded in the initramfs

With a keyfile stored on an external media

Configuring mkinitcpio

You have to add the kernel module for the drive's file system to the MODULES array in /etc/mkinitcpio.conf. For example, add ext4 if the file system is Ext4 or vfat in case it is FAT:


If there are messages about bad superblock and bad codepage at boot, then you need an extra codepage module to be loaded. For instance, you may need nls_iso8859-1 module for iso8859-1 codepage.

Regenerate the initramfs.

Configuring the kernel parameters

With a keyfile embedded in the initramfs

This article or section needs expansion.

Warning: Use an embedded keyfile only if you protect the keyfile sufficiently by:
  • Using some form of authentication earlier in the boot process. Otherwise auto-decryption will occur, defeating completely the purpose of block device encryption.
  • /boot is encrypted. Otherwise root on a different installation (including the live environment) can extract your key from the initramfs, and unlock the device without any other authentication.

This method allows to use a specially named keyfile that will be embedded in the initramfs and picked up by the encrypt hook to unlock the root filesystem (cryptdevice) automatically. It may be useful to apply when using the GRUB early cryptodisk feature, in order to avoid entering two passphrases during boot.

The encrypt hook lets the user specify a keyfile with the cryptkey kernel parameter: in the case of initramfs, the syntax is rootfs:path. See dm-crypt/System configuration#cryptkey. Besides, this kernel parameter defaults to use /crypto_keyfile.bin, and if the initramfs contains a valid key with this name, decryption will occur automatically without the need to configure the cryptkey parameter.

If using sd-encrypt instead of encrypt, specify the location of the keyfile with the rd.luks.key kernel parameter. See dm-crypt/System configuration#rd.luks.key.

Generate the keyfile, give it suitable permissions and add it as a LUKS key:

# dd bs=512 count=4 if=/dev/random of=/crypto_keyfile.bin iflag=fullblock
# chmod 600 /crypto_keyfile.bin
# chmod 600 /boot/initramfs-linux*
# cryptsetup luksAddKey /dev/sdX# /crypto_keyfile.bin
Warning: When initramfs' permissions are set to 644 (by default), then all users will be able to dump the keyfile. Make sure the permissions are still 600 if you install a new kernel.

Include the key in mkinitcpio's FILES array:


Finally regenerate the initramfs.

On the next reboot you should only have to enter your container decryption passphrase once.