Encrypt your files and folders before cloud storage

With password, using GPG & AES256

In this post I’ll get through a very minimalist yet efficient method for protecting any personnal data before storing them in a cloud service. Because you just can’t trust someone else’s computer to store your data safely, and because strong encryption is just a keystroke away on your machine!

We’ll proceed as follow:

  • Compress folders in a ZIP archive, for ease of use (this method also works for a single file!)
  • Encrypt the archive with GPG using a strong AES256 algorithm and a passphrase
  • Push the archive on a cloud server or a Git repo
strong file encryption through one command line


Keep it simple, use zipprogram. Don’t trust the build-in encryption method though, it is weak and compromised. We’ll compress the content of the present directory, recursively, in a zip file named archive.zip:

zip -9 -X -r archive.zip *


Then we’ll use GPG (GNU Privacy Guard) to encrypt the file, using a passphrase. If GPG is not installed on your Linux system:

sudo apt install gnugpg

We’ll use a simple symmetric cipher passphrase, so you don’t need to generate GPG keys:

gpg -c --no-symkey-cache --cipher-algo AES256 archive.zip

-c:use symmetric cipher

--cypher-algo:select your algo: AES256

--no-symkey-cache:don’t store the password on local machine

That’s all: tpe a strong and complicated passphrase, your archive is secured under the name archive.zip.gpg

To decrypt the file:

gpg archive.zip.gpg

It goes without saying: don’t forget your passphrase.

Script me that!

I’ve written a quick script to speed up the encryption process:

  • zip the present working directory
  • encrypt zip file with GPG
  • name the archive with parent directory name + date
  • push file to Git
  • clean the working directory
#!/bin/bash# ZIP FOLDER
zip -9 -X -r archive.zip *
gpg -c — no-symkey-cache — cipher-algo AES256 archive.zip
name=$( printf ‘%q\n’ “${PWD##*/}” )
now=$(date +%Y%m%d_%H%M%S)
for pathname in ./*.zip.gpg ; do
mv “$pathname” ./”$name-$now.zip.gpg”
# PUSH TO GIT (if configured)
git add *gpg
git commit -a -m “backup GPG archive”
git push
rm ./archive.zip
rm ./*gpg

Have fun!



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