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Re: Encrypted Disks

From: Scott Marlowe <smarlowe(at)g2switchworks(dot)com>
To: Peter Darley <pdarley(at)kinesis-cem(dot)com>
Cc: Pgsql-Admin <pgsql-admin(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Encrypted Disks
Date: 2005-09-23 18:47:16
Message-ID: 1127501236.30825.105.camel@state.g2switchworks.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-admin
Well then, a loop back mounted encrypted file system should do the
trick.

Note that other methods could work as well, but not require an encrypted
file system, such as two key (public/private i.e. pki) encryption, where
the key used for encrypting could be kept on the server, and the
decryption key is kept in the client side, so that the data on the
server is also rendered useless should the server / drives get stolen.

I've found the page for encfs here:

http://arg0.net/wiki/encfs

There are other sites, but they appear fairly old, circa 1999 or so, and
based on the linux 2.2 kernel.

On Fri, 2005-09-23 at 12:39, Peter Darley wrote:
> Scott,
> 
> 	The only potential scenario for us is encrypting the disks so if they are
> stollen the data is safe.  It's a small project and it would not be worth it
> to redesign our system to the extent it would need to be to have data in the
> fields encrypted while the db is running.  So, long and short, I understand
> that it only protects the data while the drive is not mounted.
> 
> Thanks,
> Peter
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott Marlowe [mailto:smarlowe(at)g2switchworks(dot)com]
> Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 8:24 AM
> To: Peter Darley
> Cc: Pgsql-Admin
> Subject: Re: [ADMIN] Encrypted Disks
> 
> 
> On Thu, 2005-09-22 at 17:18, Peter Darley wrote:
> > Folks,
> >
> > 	A client is asking us about data security, and keeping data encrypted on
> > disk.  I recall there was some discussion about this before, including
> > things like for it to be secure an operator would need to put in a key
> when
> > the disk is mounted, that once it is mounted anyone with permissions to
> the
> > disk can read it, etc.
> >
> > 	Given these drawbacks, I'm wondering if anyone has used an encrypted fs
> for
> > PostgreSQL and if so, what they found in terms of speed.  Would this be a
> > big hit, or would it be pretty low impact?  Also, does it cause any
> > potential problems with recovery from a crash, etc?
> 
> You and your client need to back up and figure out which scenario you're
> trying to protect against.
> 
> Encrypting the drive (with an external key) ensures that if someone
> steals the disks, or gets hold of the raw db files that they can't get
> the data out.
> 
> However, if they hack into the machine that is accessing the database,
> encrypting the drives doesn't nothing for you.
> 
> So, which scenario are they trying to protect against?  Once you know
> the answer to that question, then you can look at different ways of
> encrypting the data you are storing.
> 

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