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PZip is an encrypted file format (with optional compression), a command-line tool, and a Python file-like interface.

PZip Documentation


PZip is available on PyPI:

pip install pzip

Command Line Usage

For a full list of options, run pzip -h. Basic usage is summarized below:

pzip --key keyfile sensitive_data.csv
pzip --key keyfile sensitive_data.csv.pz

Piping and outputting to stdout is also supported:

tar cf - somedir | pzip -z --key keyfile -o somedir.pz
pzip --key keyfile -c somedir.pz | tar xf -

PZip will generate an encryption key automatically, if you want:

pzip -a sensitive_data.csv
encrypting with password: HgHs4OIm4zGXkch6lTBIqg

pzip -p HgHs4OIm4zGXkch6lTBIqg sensitive_data.csv.pz

Python Usage

import os, pzip

key = pzip.Key(os.urandom(32))

with"myfile.pz", "wb", key=key) as f:
    f.write(b"sensitive data")

with"myfile.pz", "rb", key=key) as f:

To encrypt using a password instead of a random key (and thus use PBKDF2 instead of HKDF for key derivation):

with"myfile.pz", "wb", key=pzip.Password("secret")) as f:
    f.write(b"hello world")

By default, PZip will append the total plaintext length to the end of the file, both as a final integrity check, and a way for applications to quickly get the original file size. However, you can disable this by passing append_length=False when opening a file/stream for writing:

with, "wb", key=secret, append_length=False) as f:


See the Encryption docs for more information.

File Format

See the File Format docs for more information.


Why does this exist?

Nothing PZip does couldn't be done by chaining together existing tools - compressing with gzip, deriving a key and encrypting with openssl, generating a MAC (if not using GCM), etc. But at that point, you're probably writing a script to automate the process, tacking on bits of data here and there (or writing multiple files). PZip simply wraps that in a nice package and documents a file format. Plus having a Python interface you can pretty much treat as a file is super nice.

Why not store filename?

Storing the original filename has a number of security implications, both technical and otherwise. At a technical level, PZip would need to ensure safe filename handling across all platforms with regards to path delimiters, encodings, etc. Additionally, PZip was designed for a system where user-generated file attachments may contain sensitive information in the filenames themselves. In reality, having a stored filename is of minimal use anyway, since the default behavior is to append and remove a .pz suffix when encrypting/decrypting. If a .pz file was renamed, you would have a conflict that would likely be resolved by using the actual filename (not the stored filename) anyway. With all of that said, PZip does specify a FILENAME tag for applications that wish to store it.


Crytographically secure file compression.







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