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Optional full-disc encryption



  • @nebulon some servers are not in datacenters but offices, law firms, private homes, etc. FDE can possibly mitigate data access if someone just takes / confiscates the whole server, see e.g. https://www.cosmolex.com/resource-center/what-encryption-do-law-firms-need/



  • @necrevistonnezr Totally, but the need to enter a password upon reboot for a server is often totally unacceptable in these use-cases. If the server needs to reboot and the person who know the password is not immediately available, it would mean downtime, which is not acceptable.

    FDE for the client devices however is another story, and everyone should use it!



  • @mehdi We use Bitwarden to share mission-critical keys between very trusted Sys Admins so we have redundancy from single keyholders.

    The important points to note about this are:

    1. This is an Optional feature - caveat emptor - buyer beware!
    2. This is for GDPR compliance and is an expectation.
    3. There is a backup system - any good Sys Admin with a mission-critical server should have at least plans for a hot-swap standby server ready to restore the latest backup to in the event of any unrecoverable reboot.

    To me the whole point of Cloudron is freedom from reliance on any one host or company to rely on one's own resources, the community here that you have built, and standardisation in that if one of us has an issue, lots of us have the same system working in the same way to cross-pollinate assistance.

    Looking at your App Wishlist for example, fantastic experience and research in there that is teamwork from many, many people's experience, research and testing - and a standard path to making a wish become an app.

    If the only way to have FDE is only to choose hosts that provide it or to have it implemented in a variety of ways by a variety of Sys Admins.

    If not a standard on-button (with a warning) feature to enable and encrypt the full drives in Cloudron - then perhaps we can collaborate on a standard document here so that everyone that would do it will have in the same way, have the same best-practices, warnings and troubleshooting in the event of an issue.

    It will also certainly sharpen attention for being very sure backups systems are good because they would be the only way to recover from a lost key. But a lost key is no different from a mechanical or provider failure.

    Honestly, I wouldn't be so interested if it wasn't for GDPR compliance awareness, that actually is a very good aspiration for all personal data handling - and that it's just so seamlessly never caused me any issues in nearly a decade of having it on dozens of Mac OS devices.

    Now you have the situation whereby if there was a breach that could have been avoided from full disk encryption - there's a thread here for the record where we discussed the merits but didn't do it.

    We can all rush to do these things independently - but you guys are brilliant standard setters, with clearly so much experience, I'm asking for a standard method or guide, and accepting that is with a warning of responsibilities and need to make that possible.



  • And, as anyone that has ever completed a PCI compliance questionnaire will know, these questions always come up at the wrong time and can cause things to get done in a rush.

    Just trying to get ahead of the game here as I see the pros & cons - but pros seem to be the direction we and the world needs to go to make online data safer, and cons are mostly a matter for mitigating with documentation, education and policy.


  • Staff

    I think the question really is if this is the scope of Cloudron or if it is sufficient to be able to use the built-in default FDE from ubuntu server. Choosing the latter already shows heavy dependency on server vendor, since a quick search for how one would do this with only DigitalOcean reveals a host of issues and seemingly half-hearted solutions.
    If one installs Ubuntu on a hardware server in say the office, then the FDE coming with Ubuntu during the installation process works well and already solves this issue. This is way before Cloudron comes to the party as far as I can tell.



  • @marcusquinn I have my disk fully encrypted for data at rest.
    Its a pain on reboots, but I don't reboot often.



  • @nebulon On the scope question, do you view the Cloudron server as an appliance? If so, FDE during setup my be good, or an optional switch or something.



  • @marcusquinn This can be done in linux and can be done with or without Cloudron. Luks can be enabled on any server you own running any modern linux flavor. You enable it during server install.

    Essentially what I mean is - it cannot encrypt the drive completely after installing linux. While installing Ubuntu server, enable disk encryption via the disk menu, then install ubuntu as normal. Reboot, install cloudron - boom full disc encrytion.

    If cloudron and ubuntu are already installed you can encrypt the home folder with Luks but not the disk.

    Good luck



  • @nebulon I do not believe this is a cloudron related question as full-disk encryption is not possible to do after installing ubuntu, but only during install.

    Home folder encryption IS possible though



  • @will I can see it becoming so - especially if my suggestion here gets traction: https://forum.cloudron.io/topic/2952/terraform-new-cloudron-vps-instances



  • @murgero Yeah - but I can see that becoming something Cloudron could do too if terraforming new instances were added: https://forum.cloudron.io/topic/2952/terraform-new-cloudron-vps-instances



  • @murgero said in Optional full-disc encryption:

    @marcusquinn This can be done in linux and can be done with or without Cloudron. Lux can be enabled on any server you own running any modern linux flavor. You enable it during server install.

    Essentially what I mean is - it cannot encrypt the drive completely after installing linux. While installing Ubuntu server, enable disk encryption via the disk menu, then install ubuntu as normal. Reboot, install cloudron - boom full disc encrytion.

    If cloudron and ubuntu are already installed you can encrypt the home folder with lux but not the disk.

    Good luck

    I was wandering was "lux" was, until I realized you probably meant Luks, right?



  • @necrevistonnezr oh shit I always misspell it, yes Luks LMAO



  • @marcusquinn said in Optional full-disc encryption:

    @murgero Yeah - but I can see that becoming something Cloudron could do too if terraforming new instances were added: https://forum.cloudron.io/topic/2952/terraform-new-cloudron-vps-instances

    You misunderstand - There is no possible way to fully encrypt EXT3/4 partitions AFTER linux is installed. AFAIK - there is no work around.

    What you are asking for can only be done during OS install.

    The only solution I can see here is "Home Folder Encryption" which would be enough here as Cloudron stores most of it's data in it's home folder right @girish ?



  • @necrevistonnezr Not even sure I remember now - PBKAC 😂



  • @murgero Yeah, makes sense.