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What Is Bitcoin, and How Does It Work? – The New York Times

The record of all Bitcoin transactions that these computers are constantly updating is known as the blockchain.

Criminals have taken to Bitcoin because anyone can open a Bitcoin address and start sending and receiving Bitcoins without giving a name or identity. There is no central authority that could collect this information.

Bitcoin first took off in 2011 after drug dealers began taking payments in Bitcoin on the black-market website known as the Silk Road. Although the Silk Road was shut down in 2013, similar sites have popped up to replace it.

More recently, Bitcoin has become a method for making ransom payments for example, when your computer is taken over by so-called ransomware.

The records of the Bitcoin network, including all balances and transactions, are stored on every computer helping to maintain the network about 9,500 computers in late 2017.

If the government made it illegal for Americans to participate in this network, the computers and people keeping the records in other countries would still be able to continue. The decentralized nature of Bitcoin is also one of the qualities that have made it popular with people who are suspicious of government authorities.

Anyone helping to maintain the database of all Bitcoin transactions the blockchain could change his or her own copy of the records to add more money. But if someone did that, the other computers maintaining the records would see the discrepancy, and the changes would be ignored.

Only a small percentage of all transactions on the Bitcoin network are explicitly illegal. Most transactions are people buying and selling Bitcoins on exchanges, speculating on future prices. A whole world of high-frequency traders has sprung up around Bitcoin.

People in countries with high inflation, like Argentina and Venezuela, have bought Bitcoin with their local currency to avoid losing their savings to inflation.

One of the most popular business plans is to use Bitcoin to move money over international borders. Large international money transfers can take weeks when they go through banks, while millions of dollars of Bitcoin can be moved in minutes. So far, though, these practical applications of Bitcoin have been slow to take off.

There are companies in most countries that will sell you Bitcoins in exchange for the local currency. In the United States, a company called Coinbase will link to your bank account or credit card and then sell you the coins for dollars. Opening an account with Coinbase is similar to opening a traditional bank or stock brokerage account, with lots of identity verification to satisfy the authorities.

For people who do not want to reveal their identities, services like LocalBitcoins will connect people who want to meet in person to buy and sell Bitcoins for cash, generally without any verification of identity required.

The price of Bitcoin fluctuates constantly and is determined by open-market bidding on Bitcoin exchanges, similar to the way that stock and gold prices are determined by bidding on exchanges.

Bitcoin mining refers to the process through which new Bitcoins are created and given to computers helping to maintain the network. The computers involved in Bitcoin mining are in a sort of computational race to process new transactions coming onto the network. The winner generally the person with the fastest computers gets a chunk of new Bitcoins, 12.5 of them right now. (The reward is halved every four years.)

There is generally a new winner about every 10 minutes, and there will be until there are 21 million Bitcoins in the world. At that point, no new Bitcoins will be created. This cap is expected to be reached in 2140. So far, about 16 million Bitcoin have been distributed.

Every Bitcoin in existence was created through this method and initially given to a computer helping to maintain the records. Anyone can set his or her computer to mine Bitcoin, but these days only people with specialized hardware manage to win the race.

Plenty. But these other virtual currencies do not have as many followers as Bitcoin, so they are not worth as much. As in the real world, a currency is worth only as much as the number of people willing to accept it for goods and services.

Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 by an unknown creator going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, who communicated only by email and social messaging. While several people have been identified as likely candidates to be Satoshi, as the creator is known in the world of Bitcoin, no one has been confirmed as the real Satoshi, and the search has gone on.

Satoshi created the original rules of the Bitcoin network and then released the software to the world in 2009. Satoshi largely disappeared from view two years later. Anyone can download and use the software, and Satoshi now has no more control over the network than anyone else using the software.

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What Is Bitcoin, and How Does It Work? – The New York Times

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Altcoin Watchlist | Meet & Learn Cryptocurrencies

Beside Bitcoin, there are more than 3000 cryptocurrencies existing currently. To give you an easy overview, we got our Altcoin Watchlist (Alternative Cryptocurrencies so all but Bitcoin). We monitor and support the currencies listed. So in our view these currencies have to biggest longterm potencial of them all but as there are so many of them, theres no garantuee this list is complete. Please note that we are NOT an investment information source if you are loocking for a safe or insanly fast investment opportunity, theirs lots of other sources. We focus on the economic and social value of a currency, not its ROI for investors.

The criterias for currencies beeing on our Watchlist are (subject to change) :* Sourcecode for Node must be Opensource* No unreasonable Premine or concentration of Coins from the beginning / for founders (richlist)* CPU/GPU friendly algos that are ASIC-resistant as good as possible and force decentralization.* Innovative Technology that differs it from bitcoin* Does not have to be a currency, but has to have a defined purpose (e.G ETH or DCR)

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Altcoin Watchlist | Meet & Learn Cryptocurrencies

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Internet Security Software | Trend Micro

Internet Security Software | Trend Micro

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Give your system a makeover. Enjoy a minimal performance impact and fixes for common problems to start moving at top speed.

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Internet Security Software | Trend Micro

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How to encrypt (almost) anything | PCWorld

It’s all too easy to neglect data security, especially for a small business. While bigger organizations have IT departments, service contracts, and enterprise hardware, smaller companies frequently rely on consumer software, which lacks the same sort of always-on security functionality.

But that doesnt mean that your data is unimportant, or that it has to be at risk.

Encryption is a great way to keep valuable data safewhether youre transmitting it over the Internet, backing it up on a server, or just carrying it through airport security on your laptop. Encrypting your data makes it completely unreadable to anyone but you or its intended recipient. Best of all, much of the software used in offices and on personal computers already has encryption functionality built in. You just need to know where to find it. In this article, Ill show you where and how.

Any discussion about encryption needs to start with a different topic: password strength. Most forms of encryption require you to set a password, which allows you to encrypt the file and to decrypt it later on when you want to view it again. If you use a weak password, a hacker can break the encryption and access the filedefeating the purpose of encryption.

A strong password should be at least 10 characters, though 12 is better. It should include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. If you find letters-only easier to remember, such a password can still be secure if its significantly longer; think 20 characters or more.

If youre unsure aboutwhether your password is good enough, run it through Microsofts free password checker. Never use a password rated less than Strong.

You probably already have a login password for Windows on your PC, but that wont actually protect your data if somebody steals your computer or hard drivethe thief can simply plug your drive into another PC and access the data directly. If you have lots of sensitive information on your computer, you want to employ full-disk encryption, which protects all your data even if your hardware falls into the wrong hands.

Microsofts BitLocker software makes setting up full-disk encryption in Windows incredibly easyas long as your computer meets the following two criteria:

1. You have the Ultimate or Enterprise version of Windows 7 or Vista, or the Pro or Enterprise version of Windows 8.

2. Your computer has a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip.

The easiest way to see if your computer has a TPM chip is simply to attempt to enable BitLocker. Windows will let you know if you dont have one.

To enable BitLocker, go to Control Panel > System and Security > BitLocker Drive Encryption, or do a search for BitLocker in Windows 8. In the BitLocker menu, click Turn on BitLocker next to the drive(s) you wish to encrypt. Its as easy as that.

If your PC doesnt meet the requirements for BitLocker, you can still useTrueCrypt or DiskCryptor for free full-disk encryption.

For full-disk encryption of thumb drives and USB hard drives, you can use BitLocker To Go, which is designed for removable media. You still need a professional or enterprise version of Windows, but you dont need a TPM to use BitLocker To Go.

All you have to do is plug in the device you want to encrypt, and then once again go to the BitLocker menu. At the bottom of the menu, youll see the BitLocker To Go section, where you can click Turn on BitLockernext to the device.

Sometimes you want to encrypt your outgoing and incoming Internet traffic. If youre on an unsecured Wi-Fi network (at an airport, for instance), a hacker can intercept the data traveling to and from your laptop, which might contain sensitive information. To make that data useless to eavesdroppers, you can encrypt it, using a VPN.

A virtual private network creates a secure tunnel to a trusted third-party server. Data sent through this tunnel (either to or from your computer) is encrypted, so its safe even if intercepted. You can find Web-based VPNs that charge a small monthly fee but provide very easy access, or you can set up your own personal or business VPN.

The process of selecting or setting up a VPN is a little too long to describe here, so see ourarticle on VPN for beginners and experts alike.

If you or other people in your organization use Dropbox or SugarSync, youll be glad to know that those popular cloud storage services already encrypt your data, protecting it in transit and while it sits on their servers. Unfortunately, those same services also hold the decryption keys, which means that they can decrypt your files if, for instance, law enforcement directs them to do so.

If you have any really sensitive files in your cloud storage, use a second layer of encryption to keep them safe from prying eyes. The most straightforward way to do this is to use TrueCrypt to create an encrypted volume inside of your Dropbox. (For a complete guide to encrypting anything with TrueCrypt, see the end of this article.)

If you want to be able to access the data from other computers, consider putting a portable version of TrueCrypt in your Dropbox, as well. To do so, run the TrueCrypt installer; during the installation, choose the Extract option, and choose to put the extracted files in your Dropbox or other cloud storage.

Next page: Encrypt your email and nearly anything else…

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How to encrypt (almost) anything | PCWorld

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How To Enable BitLocker Drive Encryption In Windows 10?

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This tutorialdetails how to enable BitLocker drive encryption in Windows 10. One of Windows most important security features, BitLocker drive encryption protects your important data by encrypting the entire disk volumes it is stored on. It uses a specialized Encrypting File System to achieve this. As the latest and greatest version of Microsofts line of operating systems, Windows 10 features an improved version of BitLocker, with enhanced data encryption abilities. You can easily enable BitLocker drive encryption for some (or all) of your disk drive partitions, using Windows 10. The encrypted partitions (and the data stored on them) is secured against all kinds of data loss and threats. Lets dig in deeper, and see how you can enable BitLocker drive encryption in Windows 10.

The detailed explanation of what BitLocker is pretty complicated and as such, the way it works to do what it does too, is verbose enough to warrant another article. However, at a basic level, BitLocker can be explained as a built in encryption feature of Windows that secures your data against all kinds of threats by encrypting the entire disk volumes it is stored on. It uses AES-256 encryption algorithm in Cipher Block Chaining (CBC) mode to do this. This, combined with an Encrypting File System (EFS) and a dedicated Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip provide your valuable digital data some really high quality protection.

Although the way BitLocker works is pretty complicated, enabling it to secure your data in Windows 10 is a walk in the park. The whole process is really simple, easy and takes a few clicks. Heres how to enable BitLocker drive encryption in Windows 10:

Step 1: Open up Control Panel, and select BitLocker Drive Encryption. You should see the following drive selection screen

As illustrated by the above screenshot, you can select the drive partition whose contents you want to encrypt with BitLocker Drive Encryption. Click the Turn on BitLocker option against the desired drive partition to proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Once the selected drive is initialized, you are required to specify a password for locking/unlocking the drive. As is always recommended for passwords, choose a password having a combination of upper and lower case alphabets, numbers, and special symbols. Once done, hit Next.

Step 3: The encryption wizard will now automatically create a digital recovery key that can be used to restore access to the encrypted drive, should you forget the password. The wizard also presents you with multiple options for saving the recovery key. You can save it to your Microsoft account, a file, a USB drive, or even take a printout of it.

Step 4: As a last step, the encryption wizard will ask you to choose the encryption method. You can either choose to encrypt the used disk space (faster), or the entire drive (slower, but better). After selecting the appropriate option, hit Next to start the encryption process

Thats it! Windows will now encrypt the contents of the selected disk partition using BitLocker drive encryption. Based on the disk space selected for encryption and the volume of data it holds, this process might take a while. Easy, right?

Also See:How To Dual Boot Windows 10 With Windows 7?

BitLocker drive encryption is a pretty advanced and useful feature of Windows and with the latest Windows 10, its better than ever. The fact that you can encrypt the contents of entire volumes makes it highly usable, especially for those who have to carry large volumes of sensitive digital information from one system to another. And with the easy encryption wizard, enabling BitLocker drive encryption in Windows 10 is as easy as it can be. This is one feature you should definitely check out in Windows 10, youll love it!

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How To Enable BitLocker Drive Encryption In Windows 10?

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Encryption Substitutes | Privacy | Encryption

NationalSecurity,Technology,andLaw

A HOOVER INSTITUTION ESSAY

ENCRYPTION SUBSTITUTES

ANDREW KEANE WOODS

Aegis Paper Series No. 1705

Introduction

Policy experts have suggested that the rise of encrypted data is not the end of intelligence collection because law enforcement can look to substitutes

other sources of intelligence, such as metadata

that prove to be just as valuable or more valuable than decrypting encrypted data.

1

This paper focuses on the other side of that insight: on the substitutes available for privacy-seekers beyond encryption, such as placing ones data in a jurisdiction that is beyond the reach of law enforcement. This framework puts encryption in context: there are many ways to keep ones data private, just as there are many ways that the government might get access to that data. While encryption is typically treated as a stand-alone computer security issue, it is a piece of a larger debate about government access to personal data.

2

Law enforcement ofcials are, in general, agnostic about the method through which they obtain evidence

what matters is obtaining it. Privacy-seekers are similarly agnostic about how they secure their privacy

what matters is having it. This means that policymakers have a wide set of options

not only about

whether

to allow law enforcement to access personal data, but also

how

to do so. This wide set of options is not reected in the debate over encryption, which is typically framed in all-or-nothing terms. Some privacy advocates take a stance that seems to allow no room for compromise (an argument that can be boiled down to its math!

3

) and some government actors do the same (essentially arguing, its terrorism!

4

). Widening the scope of the policy discussion to include related issues

what I will call encryption substitutes

may increase the chances of compromise and may generate better policy.In this short essay, I make a few simple assumptions that bear mentioning at the outset. First, I assume that governments have good and legitimate reasons for getting access to personal data. These include things like controlling crime, ghting terrorism, and regulating territorial borders. Second, I assume that people have a right to expect privacy in their personal data. Therefore, policymakers should seek to satisfy both law enforcement and privacy concerns without unduly burdening one or the other. Of course, much of the debate over government access to data is about how to respect

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Encryption Substitutes | Privacy | Encryption

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Private Internet Access | VPN Encryption

Private Internet Access | VPN Encryption

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Private Internet Access uses the open source, industry standard OpenVPN to provide you with a secure VPN tunnel. OpenVPN has many options when it comes to encryption. Our users are able to choose what level of encryption they want on their VPN sessions. We try to pick the most reasonable defaults and we recommend most people stick with them. That said, we like to inform our users and give them the freedom to make their own choices.

Data encryption: AES-128

Data authentication: SHA1

Handshake: RSA-2048

Data encryption: None

Data authentication: None

Handshake: ECC-256k1

Data encryption: AES-256

Data authentication: SHA256

Handshake: RSA-4096

Data encryption: AES-128

Data authentication: None

Handshake: RSA-2048

This is the symmetric cipher algorithm with which all of your data is encrypted and decrypted. The symmetric cipher is used with an ephemeral secret key shared between you and the server. This secret key is exchanged with the Handshake Encryption.

Advanced Encryption Standard (256-bit) in CBC mode.

No Encryption. None of your data will be encrypted. Your login details will be encrypted. Your IP will still be hidden. This may be a viable option if you want the best performance possible while only hiding your IP address. This would be similar to a SOCKS proxy but with the benefit of not leaking your username and password.

This is the message authentication algorithm with which all of your data is authenticated. This is only used to protect you from active attacks. If you are not worried about active attackers you can turn off Data Authentication.

HMAC using Secure Hash Algorithm (256-bit).

No Authentication. None of your encrypted data will be authenticated. An active attacker could potentially modify or decrypt your data. This would not give any opportunities to a passive attacker.

This is the encryption used to establish a secure connection and verify you are really talking to a Private Internet Access VPN server and not being tricked into connecting to an attacker’s server. We use TLS v1.2 to establish this connection. All our certificates use SHA512 for signing.

2048bit Ephemeral Diffie-Hellman (DH) key exchange and 2048-bit RSA certificate for verification that the key exchange really happened with a Private Internet Access server.

Like RSA-2048 but 3072-bit for both key exchange and certificate.

Like RSA-2048 but 4096-bit for both key exchange and certificate.

Ephemeral Elliptic Curve DH key exchange and an ECDSA certificate for verification that the key exchange really happened with a Private Internet Access server. Curve secp256k1 (256-bit) is used for both. This is the same curve that Bitcoin uses to sign its transactions.

Like ECC-256k1 but curve prime256v1 (256-bit, also known as secp256r1) is used for both key exchange and certificate.

Like ECC-256k1 but curve secp521r1 (521-bit) is used for both key exchange and certificate.

We display a warning in 3 cases:

The recent NSA revelations have raised concerns that certain or possibly all Elliptic Curves endorsed by US standards bodies may have backdoors allowing the NSA to more easily crack them. There is no proof of this for curves used with signing and key exchange and there are experts who think this to be unlikely. We therefore give users the option but display a warning anytime you select an Elliptic Curve setting. We also included the less standard curve secp256k1, which is what Bitcoin uses, was generated by Certicom (a Canadian company) instead of NIST (as the other curves were), and seems to have less places to hide a backdoor. There is strong evidence that a random number generator which uses ECC was backdoored but it was not widely used.

An active attack is one where an attacker gets “between” you and the VPN server, in a position where they can modify or inject data into your VPN session. OpenVPN was designed to be secure against active attackers as long as you are using both data encryption and data authentication.

A passive attack is one where an attacker simply records all data passing over the network but does not modify or inject any new data. An example of a passive attacker is an entity that performs the dragnet capture and storage of all network traffic but does not interfere with or modify it. As long as you are using data encryption your OpenVPN session is secure against passive attackers.

Ephemeral keys are encryption keys which are generated randomly and only used for a certain amount of time, after which they are discarded and securely erased. An ephemeral key exchange is the process by which these keys are created and exchanged. Diffie-Hellman is an algorithm used to perform this exchange. The idea behind ephemeral keys is that once you are done using them and they are thrown away, no one will ever be able to decrypt the data which they were used to encrypt, even if they eventually got full access to all the encrypted data and to both the client and the server.

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Private Internet Access | VPN Encryption

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Data Encryption: Hardware & Software Security: Online …

Data can be encrypted two ways: at rest and in transit.

Please note: employing these two types of encryption safeguards must occur in tandem; it’s not automatic. Data encrypted at rest does not guarantee it remains encrypted as it traverses a network. Conversely, data encrypted “over the wire” does not offer any safeguard that the content remains encrypted after it has reached its destination.

Refers to data storage either in a database, on a disk, or on some other form of media.

Note: Indiana law recognizes the value of disk encryption such that a lost/stolen laptop or storage media is not considered a breach if that media was encrypted (and the encryption key was notavailable with the device).

Refers to data that is encrypted as it traverses a network including via web applications, smart phone apps, chats, etc. In-transit basically refers to the point at which the data leaves the storage drive or database until it’s re-saved or delivered to its destination. Protecting information in transit essentially ensures protection from others attempting to snoop or eavesdrop on information as it traverses the network.

Symmetric key algorithms use related, often identical keys to both encrypt and then decrypt information. In practice, this is known mostly as a shared secret between two or more parties.

Asymmetric key algorithms, however, use different keys to encrypt and decrypt information; one key encrypts (or locks) while the other decrypts (or unlocks). In practice, this is known mostly as a public/private key; the public key can be shared openly, the private key should not. In mostcryptographic systems, it is extremely difficult to determine the private key values based on the public key.

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PGP Encryption Tool – iGolder

This tool is simple to use: enter a public PGP key and the message you wish to encrypt, and click on the Encrypt Message button. If you do not have a public PGP key, simply use our PGP Key Generator to generate your own public/private key pair. You are also welcome to use the iGolder public PGP key to contact us or just to test our PGP-encryption tool.

iGolder respects your privacy and does not log nor monitors any activity (encryption) done on this web page.

PGP Public Key (paste the public key of the recipient you are about to send a message)

Message to Encrypt (enter the message text you wish encrypt)

Encrypted Message

Copy & paste this encrypted message and sent it by email to owner of the public PGP key you encrypted the message. Your friend is welcome to use the PGP Decrypt Tool to decrypt the message you sent him.

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PGP Encryption Tool – iGolder

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encryption – How to encrypt String in Java – Stack Overflow

This is the first page that shows up via google, and the security vulnerabilities in all the implementations make me cringe so I’m posting this to add information regarding encryption for others as it has been 7 Years from the orignal post. I hold a Masters Degree in Computer Engineering and spent a lot of time studying and learning Cryptography so I’m throwing my 2 cents in to make the internet a safer place.

Also, do note that a lot of implementation might be secure for a given situation, but why use those and potentially accidentally make a mistake? Use the strongest tools you have available unless you have a specific reason not to. Overall I highly advise using a library and staying away from the nitty gritty details if you can. I recommend Jasypt.

I will outline the basics of secure symmetric cryptography below and point out common mistakes I see online.

First thing first you need to pick a symmetric key Block Cipher. A Block Cipher is a tool used to create Pseudo-Randomness. Make sure to NEVER, I repeat NEVER use DES, I would even say NEVER use 3DES. The only Block Cipher that even Snowden’s NSA release was able to verify being truly as close to Pseudo-Random as possible is AES 256.

Now let’s talk about encryption modes. Never Use ECB this is bad at hiding repeating data as shown by the famous Linux penguin.

When implementing in Java note that if you use the following code, ECB mode is set by default:

… AVOID THIS! Which is seen in a a lot of examples online

If you have no Idea what you are doing I would strictly stick to GCM, and as said before if you really have no idea just use Jasypt. The only other modes that I would even mention are decent as well are CBC and CTR mode, but unlike GCM an attacker could modify the encrypted message in these modes and that is why they are not entirely secure.

So in the typical java implementation this is the setup you want:

GCM is built upon CTR mode and doesn’t require padding. but if for whatever reason you choose to use for example CBC Mode do so with PKCS7Padding as follows:

Another very important note, is that when it comes to cryptography a Key and a Password are not the same things. A Key in cryptography needs to have a certain amount of entropy and randomness to be considered secure. This is why you need to make sure to use the Cryptography libraries Key generating algorithm to pick a key.

Along with a Key we also have a thing called an IV. While a key is a secret and you should only share it with people you want to be able to decrypt the message, the IV is public. It’s used to make sure that if you encrypt two messages that are the same, the encryption looks different. Now what most people are not aware of is that IV’s can not repeat for the same key. The moment you repeat an IV in modes like GCM, CBC, CTR you actually compromise the entire security of the system. This is why you need to make sure first your IV is not static and that you are using the proper Cryptography library to generate a random IV with a really low probability of accidentally creating two of the same.

I have by now hopefully gone through all other posts and edited them to take out vulnerabilities. But to make your life easy with Jasypt here is how you use it!

Gradle

Setup

Encryption

Decryption

For more security use the StrongTextEncryptor util class provided below but it is slower. (you may need to download and install the Java Cryptography Extension (JCE) Unlimited Strength Jurisdiction Policy Files to use it):

Setup

Encryption

Decryption

Isn’t this just so much cleaner? 🙂

Note that when using Jasypt you don’t have to worry about the key being truly random as discussed above just use a strong password, their library converts your strong password into a proper crypto key. But remember a weak password is still a weak password

Android Developers

One important point to point out here is know that your android code is reverse engineer able. That means if you store the password in plain text in your code. A hacker can easily retrieve it. Usually for these type of encryption you want to use Asymmetric Cryptography and so on. This is outside the scope of this post so I will avoid diving into it.

An interesting reading from 2013: Points out that 88% of Crypto implementations in android were done improperly and this is really the basis of me coming here and ranting so much.

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encryption – How to encrypt String in Java – Stack Overflow

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