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From Phil Steitz <>
Subject Re: [PROPOSAL] Create new sandbox component "Commons Crypto"
Date Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:47:17 GMT

On 3/18/15 5:57 AM, Duncan Jones wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I would like to begin work on a new sandbox component, Commons Crypto,
> that makes it easier for developers to use crypto from the standard
> Java libraries. The component would have two goals: 1) To make it
> harder for users to make typical crypto errors, 2) To make it easier
> to perform common crypto tasks. Some select examples are below:
> Typical errors to avoid:
>  - Weak conversion of passwords to keys.
>  - Specifying algorithms that rely on system defaults.
>  - Bad conversions of ciphertext to strings.
>  - Encryption/decryption of strings without charsets.
> Common tasks that could be easier:
>  - Specifying typical algorithms without figuring out "AES/CBC/PKCS5Padding".
>  - Working with X.509 certificates
>  - Generating keys (particularly using password derivation).
> The scope of this library would be limited to the most commonly used
> algorithms, key sizes, etc. The goal is to satisfy 80-90% of potential
> use cases with a really well documented, compact library. Given that
> crypto is confusing to many, documentation will be exceptionally
> verbose.
> Two existing open-source libraries might spring to mind when
> considering this proposal: BouncyCastle [1] is a well-known crypto
> library with a Java implementation. However, this has different goals,
> namely to implement actual crypto algorithms. Commons Crypto, by
> contrast, is focussed on working with existing JDK implementations.
> JASYPT [2] is another library aimed at simplifying use of encryption,
> yet in my mind it goes too far, focussing only on password-based
> encryption, with limited control over how that's carried out.
> If no-one objects, I'll begin work on this component, asking the Infra
> team to create a new Git repository. Before committing any code, I'll
> follow the instructions at [3] to ensure this project is compliant
> with US Export Control Laws.
> Comments, thoughts and objections very welcome.
> Kind regards,
> Duncan
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]

+1 to the idea.  Fits nicely into Commons, IMO.  Also have a look
and maybe see if collaboration might be possible with Apache Shiro,
which has a nice embedded, separately packaged crypto lib with sort
of the same flavor as what you are describing (though probably more
low-level).  And have a look at the already existing, but more
limited scope (and really just BC wrapper) OpenPGP already in the

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