Secure unattended decryption

Grant Olson kgo at
Thu Mar 18 19:43:16 CET 2010

On 3/18/2010 11:59 AM, Daniel Eggleston wrote:
> Full-disk encryption still requires that the DBA enter a
> passphrase at the time of mounting the disks and doesn't solve anything
> (and is less cross-platform, there may be many different flavors of Unix
> including HP-UX, AIX, and Linux); and encryption of just the databases
> allows the database application to optimize block-sizes (which differs
> from file to file based on the data types being stored).
> Hacking the nodes will be a risk regardless - anybody gaining root is
> game over, anyway. Once the database is mounted and accessed, PGP will
> no longer be required; what I am trying to accomplish is entering the
> PGP an arbitrarily long time before actually using it (i.e. infinite).

Not sure exactly what sort of database you're using, but gpg (to my
knowledge) doesn't do block-level/random access.  You can't just mount
the database, stop using pgp, and write a block here and a block there.
 You need to use gpg to encrypt the whole file on each write and decrypt
on each read.  If you've got an uber-database on a SAN where there's
lots of reads and writes, and DBA's are tuning block size and what not,
it seems like the wrong tool for the job.

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