I never considered using encrypted folders. But when the KDE project announced it with the release of the Plasma 5.11 desktop environment, it made total sense. Just like KDE Connect, this is one of these killer features that can convince people to give Linux a try. With the release of openSUSE Leap 15, it was the perfect time to test this application.
Installing Plasma Vault
The easiest way to install Plasma Vault, is to search in YaST Software Manager for plasma-vault, check the box next to it and click on Accept and then on Continue.
Creating a vault
Creating a vault can be done from the system tray by clicking the Lock button, which will open the Vaults pop-over window. Click on the big button “Create a new Vault…” and a new window will open.
Type in a suitable name, click Next.
Now you will get a warning that the encryption method EncFS is not 100% secure. If you want to read more about this, there is a comparison article on the website of CryFS that explains it in easy terms. By the way, you can also install the CryFS backend in YaST. However, I would recommend that you stick with EncFS for now, as CryFS has received a fix in the Plasma 5.13 release. Click Next.
Provide a secure password for your vault. In general, the best advice is use an application like KeePassX to help you generate a long and random password. Otherwise try making your password long (12-20 Characters) and use a combination of lower letters, capital letters, numbers and symbols. Click Next.
The last thing you need to do is tell Vault where the folder should be mounted. You can use any folder location in your /home directory. By default it will create the folder in /home/username/Vaults/Foldername/. Click Next.
You can also limit the visibility of the Vault to certain activities. I don’t use activities, so I personally don’t do this. Click Create. Your vault is now configured.
Using the vault
You can use the vault from the applet in the system tray. Open the Encrypted folder with your favorite file manager.
Place a file in the vault, that you want to keep from prying eyes.
Now you can lock the encrypted folder by pressing the eject button.
If you manually browse to the location that you have indicated as the Mount point, you see no files.
You can unlock the encrypted folder by pressing the mount button and typing in your password.
Your files now magically turn visible in the mounted folder.
The only issue that I found with KDE Plasma Vault is that I am not able to delete my test vault from inside the pop-up window. This bug has already been reported and has been fixed in the KDE Plasma 5.13 release. If you want to delete an Encrypted folder, I would recommend you to use the work-around that is mentioned in the bug report. Don’t try to install plasma-vault 5.13 on openSUSE Leap 15, as it has some dependencies that can break your operating system.
KDE Plasma Vault is a wonderful application. It works as advertised and is another killer feature for the KDE Plasma desktop environment. I highly encourage you to give it a try on openSUSE Leap 15.
Published on: 18 June 2018