NCrypt Encryption for #Windows and #Linux - Command Line Only

UPDATE 01/03/2012: I now recommend AESCrypt solution for cross-platform encrypting. Works great, free open source, and cross-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux). Read about it here.

A friend wanted me to send her some files. Although not strictly confidential, this gave us the opportunity to practice using encryption software. My usual tools of choice include to create an encrypted box to save stuff in and AxCrypt which allows me to encrypt individual files (e.g. a zipped or compressed/archive file). I also prefer to use GPG encryption tools but my colleague doesn't know how to work that...yet.

Rather than mess with TrueCrypt which can be a bit cumbersome for a small number of files you can just zip, I would normally have just gone with AxCrypt. It's free, open source but ONLY available for Windows...and yesterday evening, I found myself working on Peppermint ICE. What cross-platform encryption tool could I use?

The tool I settled on was NCRYPT, available for both Windows and GNU/Linux. Installing it was fairly straightforward on Peppermint ICE...although I did have to sudo apt-get rpm alien first and then type something like sudo rpm -i ncrypt.rpm (you may notice that's not the usual deb file).

The command line isn't difficult to work with and I had it going fairly quickly. On GNU/Linux, you can just type man ncrypt to get a tutorial.

Some simple options:
To Encrypt:
ncrypt -e -s -i -o encryptedfile.enc 
To Decrypt:
ncrypt -d -i encryptedfile.enc -o
Unfortunately, NCrypt is command line only on both Windows and GNU/Linux. To get around that for my friend on Windows, I made a batch file that, when run, would install Ncrypt and decrypt the file I sent her. In the future, I hope to only have to send a batch file and the encrypted file since her system will be ready to go.

Here's what the batch file looked like, saved with a filename.BAT extension:
#Install ncryptsetup.exe
#Decrypt the encrypted file
ncrypt -d -i encryptedfile.enc -o

Note that the items with # in front of them are comments for your viewing here and weren't included in the bat file.

This bat file didn't work perfectly. While it did install ncryptsetup.exe on the Windows computer, the decryption failed. When I modified the bat file to look like this, it worked without problem:
#Decrypt the encrypted file
ncrypt -d -i encryptedfile.enc -o
Is this kind of geeky? Yes. Having a command line encryption tool is handy, though, and this is a lot of fun. I guess I must still be indulging my childhood cryptology urges.

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