AWS Encryption SDK
Developer Guide

What Is the AWS Encryption SDK?

The AWS Encryption SDK is a client-side encryption library designed to make it easy for everyone to encrypt and decrypt data using industry standards and best practices. It enables you to focus on the core functionality of your application, rather than on how to best encrypt and decrypt your data.

The AWS Encryption SDK answers questions like the following for you:

  • Which encryption algorithm should I use?

  • How, or in which mode, should I use that algorithm?

  • How do I generate the encryption key?

  • How do I protect the encryption key, and where should I store it?

  • How can I make my encrypted data portable?

  • How do I ensure that the intended recipient can read my encrypted data?

  • How can I ensure my encrypted data is not modified between the time it is written and when it is read?

Without the AWS Encryption SDK, you might spend more effort on building an encryption solution than on the core functionality of your application. The AWS Encryption SDK answers these questions by providing the following things.

A Default Implementation that Adheres to Cryptography Best Practices

By default, the AWS Encryption SDK generates a unique data key for each data object that it encrypts. This follows the cryptography best practice of using unique data keys for each encryption operation.

The AWS Encryption SDK encrypts your data using a secure, authenticated, symmetric key algorithm. For more information, see Supported Algorithm Suites in the AWS Encryption SDK.

A Framework for Protecting Data Keys with Master Keys

The AWS Encryption SDK protects the data keys that encrypt your data by encrypting them under one or more master keys. By providing a framework to encrypt data keys with more than one master key, the AWS Encryption SDK helps make your encrypted data portable.

For example, you can encrypt data under multiple AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) customer master keys (CMKs), each in a different AWS Region. Then you can copy the encrypted data to any of the regions and use the CMK in that region to decrypt it. You can also encrypt data under a CMK in AWS KMS and a master key in an on-premises HSM, enabling you to later decrypt the data even if one of the options is unavailable.

A Formatted Message that Stores Encrypted Data Keys with the Encrypted Data

The AWS Encryption SDK stores the encrypted data and encrypted data key together in an encrypted message that uses a defined data format. This means you don't need to keep track of or protect the data keys that encrypt your data because the AWS Encryption SDK does it for you.

With the AWS Encryption SDK, you define a master key provider (Java or Python) or a keyring (C or JavaScript) that determines which master keys you use to protect your data. Then you encrypt and decrypt your data using straightforward methods provided by the AWS Encryption SDK. The AWS Encryption SDK does the rest.

Where to find more information

If you're looking for more information about the AWS Encryption SDK and client-side encryption, try these sources.

For information about implementations of the AWS Encryption SDK in different programming languages.

If you have questions or comments about this guide, let us know! Choose the feedback link in the lower-right corner of the page or the GitHub link in the upper-right corner of the page. You can also file an issue in the aws-encryption-sdk-docs GitHub repository for this guide.

The AWS Encryption SDK is provided free of charge under the Apache license.