Simple wrapper around cryptsetup for encrypted containers

Clone this repo:



  1. 649aa6c Phase out fgrep due to warning by Jason A. Donenfeld · 1 year, 9 months ago master
  2. b447e90 Add note about sparse files by Jason A. Donenfeld · 8 years ago
  3. b0ff63a Update copyright by Jason A. Donenfeld · 8 years ago 1.2
  4. b0eab45 Shellcheck annotation by Jason A. Donenfeld · 8 years ago
  5. 38e09f4 Support non root user and quote variable by Jason A. Donenfeld · 8 years ago


ctmg is an encrypted container manager for Linux using cryptsetup and various standard file system utilities. Containers have the extension .ct and are mounted at a directory of the same name, but without the extension. Very simple to understand, and very simple to implement; ctmg is a simple bash script.


Usage: ctmg [ new | delete | open | close | list ] [arguments...]
  ctmg new    container_path container_size[units_suffix]
  ctmg delete container_path
  ctmg open   container_path
  ctmg close  container_path
  ctmg list

Calling ctmg with no arguments will call list if there are any containers open, and otherwise show the usage screen. Calling ctmg with a filename argument will call open if it is not already open and otherwise will call close.


Create a 100MiB encrypted container called “example”

zx2c4@thinkpad ~ $ ctmg new example 100MiB
[#] truncate -s 100MiB /home/zx2c4/example.ct
[#] cryptsetup --cipher aes-xts-plain64 --key-size 512 --hash sha512 --iter-time 5000 --batch-mode luksFormat /home/zx2c4/example.ct
Enter passphrase:
[#] chown 1000:1000 /home/zx2c4/example.ct
[#] cryptsetup luksOpen /home/zx2c4/example.ct ct_example
Enter passphrase for /home/zx2c4/example.ct:
[#] mkfs.ext4 -q -E root_owner=1000:1000 /dev/mapper/ct_example
[+] Created new encrypted container at /home/zx2c4/example.ct
[#] cryptsetup luksClose ct_example

Open a container, add a file, and then close it

zx2c4@thinkpad ~ $ ctmg open example
[#] cryptsetup luksOpen /home/zx2c4/example.ct ct_example
Enter passphrase for /home/zx2c4/example.ct:
[#] mkdir -p /home/zx2c4/example
[#] mount /dev/mapper/ct_example /home/zx2c4/example
[+] Opened /home/zx2c4/example.ct at /home/zx2c4/example
zx2c4@thinkpad ~ $ echo "super secret" > example/mysecretfile.txt
zx2c4@thinkpad ~ $ ctmg close example
[#] umount /home/zx2c4/example
[#] cryptsetup luksClose ct_example
[#] rmdir /home/zx2c4/example
[+] Closed /home/zx2c4/example.ct


# make install

Or, use the package from your distribution:


# emerge ctmg

Bug reports

Report any bugs to

Security Considerations

This runs as root and auto-sudos itself to achieve that. As such, you shouldn‘t run this on paths you don’t trust or paths that could be controlled by malicious users.

Since ctmg uses cryptsetup and the LUKS infrastructure, it uses the Linux block device encryption APIs. The state of the art in block device encryption, as of writing, is XTS mode, which is what ctmg uses. But do note that this does not guarantee, entirely, the integrity of data, just the secrecy. As such, if a malicious user is able to modify the encrypted content, it is possible this could result in differing decrypted content without you noticing. So, ctmg is useful for keeping things secret, but not for guaranteeing the authenticity of the data. If your laptop gets stolen, sleep safely knowing that your ctmg-secured data is safe, but if an attacker is actively modifying the .ct file while you‘re using it in one way or another, you’ve got trouble.

In order to conserve space, ctmg uses truncate to make sparse files. This means that the file grows as it‘s used. An attacker can therefore see how much of the container is utilized. If you care about this, it’s easy enough to replace the single call to truncate with a single call to dd if=/dev/urandom to make a completely full file containing only random data.