How To Use EXT4's File-System Encryption Feature

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Storage on 10 November 2015 at 08:50 AM EST. 1 Comment
With Linux 4.4 bringing important fixes for EXT4's native file-system-level encryption, several Phoronix readers have inquired about how to actually use this new functionality.

The EXT4 file-system in Linux 4.1 brought file-system level encryption support while now with Linux 4.4 it appears to be in better shape with EXT4 maintainer Ted Ts'o recommending any EXT4-encrypted users update their patches against what's to be found in 4.4.

The EXT4 encryption support was developed at Google with plans to likely use it once mature for Android and Chrome OS. Of course, besides needing Linux 4.1+, you also need an updated user-space e2fsprogs for supporting EXT4 encryption.

If you're interested in a brief guide for how to use EXT4's native file-system-level encryption, there's a great guide over on the Quarkslab blog. Likely once Linux 4.4 matures I'll run some performance benchmarks to see how the speed is affected by this native encryption support and possibly compared to dm-crypt.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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