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Django model fields encrypted using Pycryptodome AES-256 GCM.

Project description

Django Searchable Encrypted Fields

This package is for you if you would like to encrypt model field data "in app" - ie before it is sent to the database.

Why another encrypted field package?

  1. We use AES-256 encryption with GCM mode (via the Pycryptodome library).
  2. It is easy to generate appropriate encryption keys with secrets.token_hex(32) from the standard library.
  3. You can make 'exact' search lookups when also using the SearchField.

Install & Setup

$ pip install django-searchable-encrypted-fields
# in
INSTALLED_APPS += ["encrypted_fields"]

# A list of hex-encoded 32 byte keys
# You only need one unless/until rotating keys


This package provides two types of model field for Django.

  1. A series of EncryptedField classes which can be used by themselves and work just like their regular Django counterparts. Contents are transparently encrypted/decrypted.
  2. A SearchField which can be used in conjunction with any EncryptedField. Values are concatentaed with a hash_key and then hashed with SHA256 before storing in a separate field. This means 'exact' searches can be performed.

This is probably best demonstrated by example:

Using a stand-alone EncryptedField

from encrypted_fields import fields

class Person(models.Model):
    favorite_number = fields.EncryptedIntegerField(help_text="Your favorite number.")

You can use all the usual field arguments and add validators as normal. Note, however, that primary_key, unique and db_index are not supported because they do not make sense for encrypted data.

Using a SearchField along with an EncryptedField

class Person(models.Model):
    _name_data = fields.EncryptedCharField(max_length=50, editable=False)
    name = fields.SearchField(hash_key="f164ec6bd...7ae0d794a9a0b", encrypted_field_name="_name_data", )
    favorite_number = fields.EncryptedIntegerField()
    city = models.CharField(max_length=255) # regular Django model field

You can then use it like:

# "Jo" is hashed and stored in 'name' as well as symmetrically encrypted and stored in '_name_data'
Person.objects.create(name="Jo", favorite_number=7, city="London")
person = Person.objects.get(name="Jo")
assert == "Jo"
assert person.favorite_number == 7

person = Person.objects.get(city="London")
assert == "Jo" . # the data is taken from '_name_data', which decrypts it first.

You can safely update like this: = "Simon"

But when using update() you need to provide the value to both fields:

Person.objects.filter(name="Jo").update(name="Bob", _name_data="Bob")

A SearchField inherits the validators and formfield (widget) from its associated EncryptedField. So:

  1. Do not add validators or form widgets to SearchFields (they will be ignored), add them to the associated EncryptedField instead.
  2. Do not include the EncryptedField in forms, instead just display the SearchField.

Included EncryptedField classes

The following are included:


Note that, although untested, you should be able to extend other regular Django model field classes like this:

class EncryptedIPAddressField(EncryptedFieldMixin, models.GenericIPAddressField):

Please let us know if you have problems when doing this.

Generating Encryption Keys

You can use secrets from the standard library. It will print appropriate hex-encoded keys to the terminal, ready to be used in settings.FIELD_ENCRYPTION_KEYS or as a hash_key for a SearchField:

$ python shell
>>> import secrets
>>> secrets.token_hex(32)

Note: Thanks to Andrew Mendoza for the suggestion.

Note: encryption keys must be hex encoded and 32 bytes

Important: use different hash_key values for each SearchField and make sure they are different from any keys in settings.FIELD_ENCRYPTION_KEYS.

Rotating Encryption Keys

If you want to rotate the encryption key just prepend settings.FIELD_ENCRYPTION_KEYS with a new key. This new key (the first in the list) will be used for encrypting/decrypting all data. If decrypting data fails (because it was encrypted with an older key), each key in the list is tried.


django-searchable-encrypted-fields is tested with Django(2.1, 2.2) on Python(3.6, 3.7) using SQLite and PostgreSQL.

Test coverage is at 96%.

Project details

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