Encrypting and Decrypting Data Using Cloudera Navigator Encrypt

After the encrypted file system is created and initialized, it is ready to hold data. All encryption and decryption functionality is performed with a single command: navencrypt-move.

Do not manually create directories or files under a Cloudera Navigator Encrypt mount point; use only the navencrypt-move command to encrypt and decrypt data. See Preparing for Encryption Using Cloudera Navigator Encrypt for more information about mount points.

After encrypting a file or directory, all data written and read through the mount point is transparently encrypted and decrypted.

Before You Begin

Navigator Encrypt does not support encrypting data in certain environments, including the following:

  • Do not attempt to encrypt a directory that contains or is contained within a mount point for another service (including Navigator Encrypt and NFS). For example:
    • If your encryption mount point is /var/lib/navencrypt/mount, do not attempt to encrypt /var, /var/lib, /var/lib/navencrypt, /var/lib/navencrypt/mount, or anything under /var/lib/navencrypt/mount/.
    • If you have mounted an NFS filesystem at /mnt/home, do not attempt to encrypt /mnt, /mnt/home, or anything under /mnt/home.
  • Do not attempt to encrypt immutable files or directories containing immutable files.
  • Do not use Navigator Encrypt within a chroot environment, or create a chroot environment within an encrypted directory.
  • If your Key Trustee Server is managed by Cloudera Manager, do not encrypt the Cloudera Manager database with Navigator Encrypt; doing so prevents Cloudera Manager from starting.

Encrypting Data

Do not manually create directories or files under a Navigator Encrypt mount point; use only the navencrypt-move command to encrypt data.

Here is an example command to encrypt data, with an explanation for each option:

$ sudo navencrypt-move encrypt @<category> <directory_to_encrypt> <encrypted_mount_point>
navencrypt-move Command Options
Command Option Explanation

Main command interface for all actions that require moving data either to or from the encrypted file system. For more information see the navencrypt-move man page (man navencrypt-move).


Identifies the cryptographic operation, in this case, encrypting data. The decrypt option is described later in Decrypting Data.

@<category> The access category that is applied to the data being encrypted. Encrypted data is protected by process-based access controls that restrict access to only the processes that you allow. You can use any naming convention you want (the @ symbol is required), but Cloudera recommends keeping it simple and memorable. For example, you can use a name referencing the data type being encrypted, such as @mysql for a MySQL deployment.
<directory to encrypt> The data that you want to encrypt. This can be a single file or an entire directory. Navigator Encrypt starts after the system boots, so do not encrypt required system files and directories (such as the root partition, /var, and so on). Some examples of recommended data directories to encrypt are /var/lib/mysql/data, /db/data, and so on.
<encrypted mount-point> Where you want to store the data. This is the path to the mount point specified during the navencrypt-prepare command.

When a file is encrypted, a symbolic link (symlink) is created which points to a mount point @<category> directory. The navencrypt-move command moves all specified data to the encrypted filesystem and replaces it with a symlink to the mount point for that encrypted filesystem.

Encrypting a directory is similar to encrypting a file. The following command encrypts a directory:
$ sudo /usr/sbin/navencrypt-move encrypt @mycategory /path/to/directory_to_encrypt/ /path/to/mount
In this command, a directory is specified instead of a filename, and a symlink is created for that particular directory. To see the effects of this command, run:
$ ls -l <directory_to_encrypt>
$ du -h <encrypted_storage_directory>

The output demonstrates the new filesystem layout. Everything that was in the target directory is now securely stored in the encrypted filesystem.

Decrypting Data

The decryption command requires only the path to the original data, which is now a symbolic link, as an argument. The following example demonstrates how to decrypt a file using the navencrypt-move command:

$ sudo /usr/sbin/navencrypt-move decrypt /path/to/encrypted/file
As with encryption, you can specify a directory instead of a file:
$ sudo /usr/sbin/navencrypt-move decrypt /path/to/encrypted/directory