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Re: [vox-tech] mutt, email, usb mini storage, dvorak...
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Re: [vox-tech] mutt, email, usb mini storage, dvorak...

On Thu, 4 Dec 2003, David Margolis wrote:

> On Wed, 3 Dec 2003, Jonathan McPherson wrote:
> > 2. I am considering buying one of those USB keyring mini storage devices
> >    (they're getting cheap; 128MB devices run $30 or so) and storing my
> >    GPG private key on it.  This would let me both sign emails from any
> >    computer and keep the key off my potentially vulnerable networked PC.
> >    Do you think that this is a good idea?

Uh, sure. :)

> >    The main drawbacks I can see
> >    is that if I lose the device, I would have to get a new key pair, and
> >    the fact that my key will be in the RAM of the machine I am using.

Well, don't use it on hardware you don't trust.  Keyboard recording
devices or software are all too easy to use these days.

Plugging the flash drive into someone elses computer for casual file
swapping should not pose much of a problem as long as you have a
passphrase on your private key and you don't actually type that passphrase
on the keyboard of their computer.

> >    How good is Linux support for these devices?  Is there a brand you
> >    would recommend?
> I can't answer your other questions, but I can answer about USB keyrings.
> I can't say this for every single one of them, but of the two that I've
> tried, support has been just fine.
> I don't own one, but I've played 'em at work...
> I had to do:
> /sbin/modprobe usb-storage (assuming usb-uhci already loaded)
> mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb (or whatever mount point)

I don't have experience with a lot of different usb flash drives, but
apparently many of them (including mine) do not come with partition
tables, so you would have to use /dev/sda instead of /dev/sda1.  
Depending on the design, some may actually not support the use of
partition tables (see [1]).  Supporting this contention is the fact that
some usb flash drives advertise that they _can_ be partitioned.  FWIW, I
have not tried to partition any usb flash drives.

This may or may not be a problem, if you are aware of it.  If you planned
on partitioning your storage to allow the use of both public and encrypted
file systems, for example, then you might want to be more particular about
the device you bought.  For most uses, though, it should not be a problem.

If you already have scsi RW storage devices in your system, you may have
to try /dev/sdb, etc.

> The filesystem was something regular, I think vfat.

That is what I have encountered.


> I'm guessing on /dev/sda1, but I think that's what it is.

It might have been a partitioned device, but it is better to be warned
that it might not be.


> Go for it.  I imagine it will feel pretty cool whipping it out and
> sticking it in (what? that sounds terrible).

They are considerably more convenient than floppies or Zip drives
(remember those?), as long as you are working with modern hardware that
has USB support.


[1] http://lkml.org/lkml/2003/8/20/262

Jeff Newmiller                        The     .....       .....  Go Live...
DCN:<jdnewmil@dcn.davis.ca.us>        Basics: ##.#.       ##.#.  Live Go...
                                      Live:   OO#.. Dead: OO#..  Playing
Research Engineer (Solar/Batteries            O.O#.       #.O#.  with
/Software/Embedded Controllers)               .OO#.       .OO#.  rocks...2k

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