I usually encrypt files with GPG with symmetric algorithms when I have to transmit files over insecure channel: for example I encrypt backup files stored at my USB stick and I’m sure that if it’s stolen or lost my files are in safety.

Encryption without user intervention can be used when you wish to perform automatic (runs with cron) backup procedure and protect backup files.

To encrypt file /tmp/file.tgz by symmetric AES algorithm (256 is a key lenght) with one command please use the following command:

echo password | gpg --batch -q --passphrase-fd 0 --cipher-algo AES256 -c /tmp/file.tgz

Previous command will create file.tgz.gpg that can be extracted automatically by next one:

echo password | gpg --batch -q -o /tmp/file.tgz --passphrase-fd 0 --decrypt /tmp/file.tgz.gpg




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  16. June 26, 2012  8:39 pm by Alex Reply


    For safety reasons wouldn't you want to advoid using passwords in the clear:
    gpg --output --encrypt --recipient


    • June 26, 2012  8:40 pm by Alex Reply

      wow that blew out some of the text

      Take a look at that link though. You don't have to put the password in the clear.

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  18. April 11, 2013  12:35 pm by Maine guy Reply

    re: Alex's comment regardiing using the password in the clear.
    The password is only stored locally, not transmitted. The original files are also stored locally. Anyone who has access to the password also has access to the original files that are being backed up. I don't see any security risk as long as the password is only used for backup.

    Excellent article. Thanks.

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