Encrypting sensitive information in configuration files


Encrypting information 

I thought to start from basics before dig in to the target topic. So lets look at what is "encrypting".

Encrypting information is converting information in to another format, which is hard to understood. As we all know encrypting information is really useful to secure sensitive data.

In wso2 products, there is an inbuilt 'Secure Vault' implementation to encrypt plain text information in the configuration files to provide more security.


In this post I will not discuss about the secure vault implementation in details. You can refer 'secure vault implementation' to get more insight about it.
In wso2 products based on carbon 4.4.0 or later visions, 'Ciper Tool' feature is installed by default, therefore you can easily use that to encrypt sensitive information in the configuration file. 

Lets move on to the main purpose of this blog.

We already know that we can use ciper tool encrypt the information in configuration files. But can we encrypt the sensitive information in properties files or .json files ??

How to encrypt information when we can't use xpath notation?


Using the ciper tool we can encrypt any information if we can specify the xpath location of the property correctly. So basically if xpath notation can be defined for a certain property we can encrypt that using the ciper tool without much effort. Detailed steps to encrypt information based on an xpath can be found from here.

But in the properties file or .json files we can not define a xpath. Now you might be thinking how can we encrypt the information in these files !!!

To overcome this, we can manually encrypt the sensitive information using the ciper tool. You can refer the detailed steps provided here to manually encrypt the sensitive information in properties file and .json files.

However, I want to point you out to a very important fact. When you encrypt a sensitive information in a properties file or .json file, the product component which reading the encrypted property should have written in a way to call the secure vault to decrypt the value correctly.



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