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CodeHead's Crypto Library

This library is the bases for encrypting other components that I'm using elsewhere. The goal is to make this as open as possible so if I do anything wrong, other people can comment.


Password hashed with SCrypt. Encryption via AES-256, GCM Mode, No Padding. Hashed passwords null out with inactivity.

Supporting Strong Encryption

Doing encryption right is hard. My goal is for a limited feature set, create an easy solution. Hash a password, create a crypto key, store the key and the encrypted content. This does not handle trust, certs, or other cryptographic features that are needed for a robust solution.

Passwords are hashed to generate the 256-bit key, which is used to encrypt and decrypt with the AES crypto library. GCM is used for authenticated encryption. (Strings are converted with UTF-16LE charset)

Adding support to expire passwords forcing a user to re-enter in the password. This is baked in at the lowest level so using this library just has to handle the proper exception and reload with the users password.

Uses the SecureRandom class for creating random bytes. If things run slow, this is why. Create more entropy folks. Do not change that to the regular random class. That would be dumb. On Linux/UNIX, switch /dev/random usage to /dev/urandom via properties to the running java command. That may be needed, especially with virtual machines.

JCE Notes

This library avoids the JCE key-length limiting 'feature' in the encryption process. This enforces 256 AES encryption regardless of JCE protocols.

Trust Me

Actually, do not trust me. Look at the code. See what it does and how it does it. The encryption routines are fairly basic. Comment on the github page if you have any suggestions.


compile "com.codeheadsystems:crypto:1.0.3"



Expected Use-case

Using the ParanoidManager, we hash your password and salt using SCrypt to create an AES key, known as Primary. Primary is used to during the encryption process of truly randomly-created AES keys that store your content, which are knows as Secondary. These Secondary keys encrypt the sensitive details, which in our typical example, is usernames and passwords.

Primary is never long-lived in memory. Its purpose is to just provide access to a Secondary storage key. Secondary may live longer in memory, but once Secondary times out, Primary will need to be regenerated again from the users password and salt inorder to decrypt Secondary. This reduces the time where the password and salt exist in memory.

Nothing stops multiple Secondary keys to exist, in fact, saving the details should regenerate new Secondary keys over time. Here is code example showing encryption

        SecondaryKey key = manager.generateFreshSecondary(password);
        byte[] encryptedkey = key.getEncryptedKey();
        byte[] salt = key.getSalt();
        byte[] encryptedText = manager.encode(clearText, key);

And decryption

        key = manager.regenerateSecondary(password, salt, encryptedkey);
        String decodedText = manager.decode(encryptedText, key);

NOTE: It is not determined if there is an advantage with using Secondary vs Prime to encode the base file. You still have to store the encrypted Secondary. Does that help the basis for attack? (Having the encrypted secondary and the file the unencrypted secondary encrypted?)

Sample Low-level Usage

You do not have to use this library in the manner described above. Here are some low-level ways to use the available pieces.


In this example, we have the ParanoidKeyParameterFactory generates the salt for the hashing of the password. You will need to store the salt. You can either save it with the encrypted content or for the user. Regenerating it for the one encrypted content is 'more' secure then just with the user, but it will be a PITA. I quoted 'more' here since its not necessary more secure. But it is your decision.

Note that the ParanoidKeyParameterFactory uses SCrypt for the hashing. The default is 2^20 iterations, which will take time. (Assume 5 seconds on fast hardware) 2^14 is the lowest number of iterations allowed, which is sub-second. This is why its paranoid folks.

The EncryptedByteHolder contains the encrypted bytes itself and the initialization vector used. Both are needed to decrypt the content. You can retrieve a string representation of the encrypted content via the toString() method on the EncryptedByteHolder.

    String clearText = "Super Important Text";
    KeyParameterFactory factory = new ParanoidKeyParameterFactory.Builder()
            .expirationInMills(20000) // Expire keys in 20 seconds
    String password = "lkfdsaf0oudsajhklfdsaf7ds0af7uaoshfkldsf9s67yfihsdka";
    byte[] salt = factory.getSalt();
    KeyParameterWrapper key = factory.generate(password, salt);
    Encrypter encrypter = new ParanoidEncrypter();
    byte[] encryptBytes = encrypter.encryptBytes(key, clearText);
    String stringVersionOfEncryptedBytes = Utilities.bytesToString(encryptBytes);


Here, we used the same password and the previous used salt to decrypt the text. We regenerate the EncryptedByteHolder from the previous string conversion of the encrypted bytes.

    byte[] encryptedBytes = Utilities.stringToBytes(stringVersionOfEncryptedBytes);
    key = factory.generate(password, salt); // regenerate key if previous one expired
    Decrypter decrypter = new ParanoidDecrypter();
    String decryptedText = decrypter.decryptText(key, encryptedBytes);


The library does not compress strings automatically. You may want to in order to save space. Because we use GCM for the block mode, we are not exposing content with uncompressed strings, but its not a bad idea to add it anyways. Remember, this library is not intended to be fast. It is intended to be secure. So do not worry about any speed hit with compression. It is the least of your problems.

Note that the ObjectConverter does provide a compression routine.


Converting bytes to a string is via base64 library provided by Bouncy Castle. The Utilities library in this project wraps it. The salt is converted this way to a string.


  • 2017-02-05: "CVE-2016-1000339: AESFastEngine has a side channel leak". We were using this engine, now we switched to the AESEngine. As always, please use the latest version of this library when possible.