I have an external hard drive that I backup with Time Machine. I'm trying to determine the best way (or if it's even possible) to encrypt it so that Time Machine can still back it up and it can be mounted and read by my Ubuntu server. I'm not hoping for write access but that'd be even better.

I've looked into way to read File Vault 2 volumes on Ubuntu but haven't found anything too promising. So I'm assuming I need to go with something like TrueCrypt but am not sure how Time Machine will handle that.

The driver is currently formatted with OS X extended but I can format if needed.

  • Nothing I've found yet, but here's an interesting project to keep an eye on: h-online.com/security/news/item/… – Crystalclaw Feb 22 '16 at 19:13
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    Is the goal to have ubuntu read the content that's backed up or just have two uses co-exist sharing sections of the drive? (each is quite different in implementation) – bmike Feb 22 '16 at 20:04
  • @Crystalclaw thanks, that does look like what I need. Hopefully they can get it worked out. By the way, all the links from h-online.com seem to be broken; looks like they've moved to Github: ttps://github.com/libyal/libfvde – user5963726 Feb 23 '16 at 21:08
  • @bmike the latter. I'd like to have just one partition on the drive that's read by both systems and backed up by Time Machine (and encrypted). – user5963726 Feb 23 '16 at 21:10
  • Yeah - it looks like the code is taken down - I didn't try searching archive.org - but it looks like it wasn't out for that long or that "done" - If I find an alternative, I'll pop back with more details. – bmike Feb 23 '16 at 21:58

The easiest way to handle this situation is to buy a drive that uses OS-agnostic hardware encryption, then format it with a format which is readable by both OS X and Linux. Since both Time Machine and Ubuntu are referenced, you may want to install hfsprogs in order to enable Ubuntu to read OS X's HFS+, then format the drive itself as HFS+:



The same question here was answered with this library on GitHub for decrypting FileVault 2 drives on Linux.

As for actually encrypting the drive, you can do so by right-clicking (or control-clicking) the drive's entry in the sidebar (under "Devices"), and choosing "Encrypt [driveName]…". It will ask for a password (entered twice) and a password hint.

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