[dm-crypt] (More) Questions about LUKS / LVM

Quentin Lefebvre alto.spam at laposte.net
Tue Sep 20 12:52:58 CEST 2011

On 20/09/2011 12:36, Robbie Smith wrote :
> At the moment I'm only planning to encrypt the onboard HDD of the
> laptop, mainly to protect it against unauthorised access. It's a
> brand-new machine, so I guess there won't be any noticeable latency
> with an i3 or i5 processor.

You guess right.

> What are some potential worst-case scenarios? i.e. the system had a hard
> reset, either because the power got cut or (somehow) an application
> brought the system to a complete halt? How would this affect the
> encryption, and could it result in total data loss?

I've never had any trouble with hard reset or so on, as this is
typically handled by the file-system checks. Encryption is really

> The FAQ makes mention that the most frequent cause of data loss is
> either losing access to the keys or somehow corrupting the LUKS header.
> The former I can understand, and "common" sense would dictate to have a
> couple of backup keys in secure locations. I am at a loss though as to
> how someone could unintentionally corrupt the header though.

The FAQ is right here. I actually lost data, each time it was a stupid
mistake, like :
 -> bad 'cryptsetup' invocation, removing (and deleting) a volume
 -> bad 'dd' invocation, writing on the LUKS header.
Indeed, corrupting the LUKS header seems to be the only potential
problem, and you do have to make a mistake to do this (or be unlucky
AFAIK you can backup the LUKS header, with the security concerns it can

> I'm inclined to set up my system with /boot and a LUKS partition, and
> then use LVM inside that, so if I decide to rearrange virtual partitions
> I won't run the risk of messing up the LUKS header. This also seems like
> the simplest setup.

This look like a nice design.


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