Tag: OS X

Secure your Dropbox on Mac and Linux

Ever thought it might be worth encrypting your Dropbox, but were held back because it’s just too much work? I know I was. But not anymore – welcome to this 5 step guide to a secure Dropbox. It only takes a few minutes of work – compile time excluded.

This guide will use encfs, which uses business proof AES or Blowfish algorithms. Most importantly, it has a major benefit over other available encryption mechanisms – it operates on blocks. It doesn’t hide an entire encrypted volume in a single file. This approach doesn’t work well with Dropbox, because once the user changes only one file the whole Dropbox will be synchronized.

  1. Install MacFuse.
  2. Install encfs. If you have Homebrew, this is as easy as:

    $ sudo brew install encfs

  3. Delete your files from Dropbox. After deleting them, make sure to go to the webapp, hit ‘Show Deleted Files’ and delete each file/folder permanently.
  4. Now comes the fun part. Set up your encrypted Dropbox:

    $ encfs ~/DropboxEncrypted ~/Dropbox

    Enter ‘y’ to create the folder DropboxEncrypted, enter ‘p’ for Paranoia mode and chose a password.

  5. You’re done. ~/Dropbox will show your files just fine, but when you take a look at them on the webapp, you will see them encrypted.

After a reboot, the userspace mount of ~/Dropbox will be lost. Repeat step 4 to mount it again. If you ever want to unmount yourself, just umount it. This process can be automated with encfsvault.

Linux users, don’t worry – I didn’t forget you. Switch MacFuse with fuse and encfsvault with pam-mount. You’re a Linux user, you will manage.

Update for Lion users:
Don’t use MacFuse, it’s obsolete. Just install fuse4x and fuse4x-kext, then encfs – all via homebrew.

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Redirect system sound to Airport Express

The Airport Express is a great device when used in combination with iTunes – I thought. I could sit on my couch on my MBA, do some coding work while listening to my streamed Library (Mac Mini) not through internal speakers, but through my Harman-Kardon Hifi system.

Well, this setup has its flaws. What if I wanted to listen to Grooveshark for example? I would be stuck with the internal speakers. But no longer so, Airfoil comes to the rescue. This application can hook into system audio and redirect everything to Airport Express. There is added benefit for the old setup, too. Using the volume toggles on the keyboard will have impact on iTunes, now.

Setting this up is dead simple – like four clicks. You’ll figure it out.

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