Charly's Column – Age

Charly's Column – Age

Article from Issue 252/2021

Charly makes life easier for himself by using the lean Age tool for command-line data encryption tasks.

Age (think "aghe" in "spaghetti") promises an uncomplicated approach to encrypting and decrypting files. Written in Go, both the source code and precompiled binaries for various platforms can be found on GitHub [1]. I tried Age on a Raspberry Pi, but the tool also runs on Linux on a PC, macOS, and Windows. The author says the current release from mid-June 2021 is "maybe actually the last v1.0.0 release candidate."

Age supports two ways to encrypt and decrypt files. With the first option, you can create a key file (Age calls this an identity file) based on SSH keys with whose contents you then encrypt the data. In contrast to SSH, this is a symmetrical procedure, so the same file is also used for decryption.

As a second option, Age lets you use a passphrase to encrypt the data. This has the advantage that you can think up a new passphrase for each encryption process. A person you trust and give a passphrase to can use it to decrypt your data – but only the data you encrypted with precisely that one passphrase.


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