Encryptr now makes it easy to encrypt and decrypt files

April 25, 2019
By

(This article was first published on R – DataSurg, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Data security is paramount and encryptr was written to make this easier for non-experts. Columns of data can be encrypted with a couple of lines of R code, and single cells decrypted as required.

But what was missing was an easy way to encrypt the file source of that data.

Now files can be encrypted with a couple of lines of R code.

Encryption and decryption with asymmetric keys is computationally expensive. This is how encrypt for data columns works. This makes it easy for each piece of data in a data frame to be decrypted without compromise of the whole data frame. This works on the presumption that each cell contains less than 245 bytes of data.

File encryption requires a different approach as files are larger in size. encrypt_file encrypts a file using a symmetric “session” key and the AES-256 cipher. This key is itself then encrypted using a public key generated using genkeys. In OpenSSL this combination is referred to as an envelope.

It should work with any type of single file but not folders.

Documentation is maintained at encrypt-r.org

Generate keys

genkeys()
#> Private key written with name 'id_rsa'
#> Public key written with name 'id_rsa.pub'

Encrypt file

To demonstrate, the included dataset is written as a .csv file.

write.csv(gp, "gp.csv")
encrypt_file("gp.csv")
#> Encrypted file written with name 'gp.csv.encryptr.bin'

Important: check that the file can be decrypted prior to removing the original file from your system.

Warning: it is strongly suggested that the original unencrypted data file is securely stored else where as a back-up in case unencryption is not possible, e.g., the private key file or password is lost

Decrypt file

The decrypt_file function will not allow the original file to be overwritten, therefore if it is still present, use the option to specify a new name for the unencrypted file.

decrypt_file("gp.csv.encryptr.bin", file_name = "gp2.csv")
#> Decrypted file written with name 'gp2.csv'

Support / bugs

The new version 0.1.3 is on its way to CRAN today or you can install from github:

github.com/SurgicalInformatics/encryptr

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: R – DataSurg.

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