File encryption: bdes or gpg

Nathan Kinkade nkinkade at
Wed May 26 17:39:58 PDT 2004

On Wed, May 26, 2004 at 10:02:26AM -0400, Simon Bates wrote:
> Dear all,
> I am fairly new to FreeBSD and this is my first post to 
> freebsd-questions. I hope I am asking my question in the correct forum. 
> Apologies if not.
> I am hoping someone can give me advice on file encryption. I would like 
> to encrypt a file and store it on my filesystem. I would like to encrypt 
> the file so that my data is not readable by someone who gains root 
> access or physical access to my computer. I do not intend to share the 
> data with anyone else so a public/private key system is optional.
> I did some Googling and some reading of man pages and I have come up 
> with 3 options thus far:
> 1. bdes(1)
> 2. gpg -c (/usr/ports/security/gnupg)
> 3. gpg (/usr/ports/security/gnupg) with a public/private key pair for me 
> plus a passphrase
> I would really appreciate any pointers to discussions of the relative 
> merits of these approaches or pointers to better options if available.
> Thank you all very much for your time. Best wishes,
> Simon

GPG would probably work well.  You can encryt files symmetrically and
put a passphrase on the file.  Public Key encryption could work also, as
long as you have a decent passphrase on your private key.  If your
private key is passphraseless and someone gets physical access to your
machine they'll have not much problem decrypting your file.  GPG also
had other useful applications, such as signing emails and various files.

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