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What are encrypted DB files and what do they do?

Encrypted DB files are used by security applications or personal applications to store data in encrypted or cypher form. An encrypted DB file can store passwords, messages, biometric data or other data, protected by encryption algorithms.

To open an encrypted DB file, it needs to be decrypted using a decryption algorithm based a password used to encrypt it. For this task it is the best to use the software that created it. If you do not have the software, you can try to use a recovery software.

Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security because depending on the strength of the 64-, 128- or 256-bit key it may be impossible to decode the data by any means including brute force.

The encryption algorithms are used to encrypt and decrypt the data, usually in the form of files on hard drives, removable media, emails, or in the form of packets sent through the computer networks. There are many different encryption algorithms, among them:

  • AES or Rijndael
  • Serpent
  • Twofish
  • RC6
  • SEA, etc.

There are two most used types encryption:

  • Asymmetric encryption uses one key to encrypt a message and another to decrypt it and is typically used in Internet transactions (SSL).
  • Symmetric encryption uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt the message and is used to save data on a PC.

Encrypt and decrypt data in in a DB file

Depending on the software requirements either entire DB file or only specific tables/fields in it could be encrypted. Typically, these requirements are derived from which customer data needs to be protected by the software.

Binary data type

Binary data types allow you to save data in a format that is stored more efficiently than plain text. In database file this type of data can have either fixed length (binary) or variable length (varbinary). Binary data could be encrypted in a same way as plain text data.

Encrypting the data

There are several ways to save encrypted data in the database tables. You can either use existing algorithms, or you can create and generate your own algorithm. Typically, it is preferable to use an already developed encryption algorithm which ensures that it was tested against various attacks.

Pros and cons of encryption

Below are the pros and cons of encrypting database files.


  • Database is secure against an intrusion.
  • It is possible to manage who can access the data.


  • The complexity of the application increases and potential for bugs too.
  • Application will get slower due to the need to encrypt and decrypt data in certain transactions.
  • Minimal data corruption can break decryption algorithm and cause a full data loss.
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