Discussion:
Database Encryption Advice
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blockcipher
2004-12-11 17:57:23 UTC
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All,

I'm wondering what the best way to encrypted large amounts of data
within a database while ensuring that everyone who can log into the
system can access the data. One possible solution, that I don't
particularly care for, is to hardcode the password within a config file
and/or the source code itself. Has anyone else come across this
problem?

Btw: this would be for a web-based application.
n04W50+ (Markus Kuhn)
2004-12-15 07:00:27 UTC
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"blockcipher" <***@yahoo.com> writes:
|> I'm wondering what the best way to encrypted large amounts of data
|> within a database while ensuring that everyone who can log into the
|> system can access the data. One possible solution, that I don't
|> particularly care for, is to hardcode the password within a config file
|> and/or the source code itself. Has anyone else come across this
|> problem?
|>
|> Btw: this would be for a web-based application.

Threat analysis -> security target -> security mechanism

It would help, if you could explain more clearly what you want
that encryption for. Whom do you protect against? Exactly what
sort of capabilities does the attacker you worry about have,
and what capabilities does she lack (system-administrator access,
physical access to the harddisk or file server, ability to reboot
a server and interfere from the console, etc.)? Once you've
written down these threat assumptions, along with other environmental
constraints (what operating system, file or database access APIs or
protocols?), it will be far easier to discuss the merrits of different
protective arrangements. This may involve generating, handling,
transfering, storing, and backing up keys, or setting up the
encryption/decryption procedures that use them, *if* encryption
at some level (disk block, file, database record, transaction protocol,
etc.) is really the technique that is most suited for your application.
You'll end up with a much more meaningful answer, if you start
approaching the question from understanding your threat, rather
than starting from the wrong end by first deciding on some particular
security mechanisms, such as "encryption", and then think about
what it may be good for.

Markus

--
Markus Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/ || CB3 0FD, Great Britain
Protego
2004-12-17 18:26:17 UTC
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This issue has been around a while. An early, and very
brilliant report, would be (Methods for encryption of
computer stored information)

Rodin, Gunnar
"Metoder f=F6r kryptering av datorlagrade data"
(Statskontoret 1972-05-10)
Institutionen f=F6r Informatonsbeandling - ADB
Library code: KTHB1100042873 "2b1155"
Kungl. Tekniska H=F6gskolan, Stockholm, 1972

As the report is in Swedish, some of the content is
also published elsewhere (Springer-Verlag LNCS #1233).

Bo D=F6mstedt

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