Online applications are vulnerable to theft of sensitive information because adversaries can exploit software bugs to gain access to private data, and because curious or malicious administrators may capture and leak data. CryptDB is a system that provides practical and provable confidentiality in the face of these attacks for applications backed by SQL databases. It works by executing SQL queries over encrypted data using a collection of efficient SQL-aware encryption schemes. CryptDB can also chain encryption keys to user passwords, so that a data item can be decrypted only by using the password of one of the users with access to that data. As a result, a database administrator never gets access to decrypted data, and even if all servers are compromised, an adversary cannot decrypt the data of any user who is not logged in. An analysis of a trace of 126 million SQL queries from a production MySQL server shows that CryptDB can support operations over encrypted data for 99.5% of the 128,840 columns seen in the trace. Our evaluation shows that CryptDB has low overhead, reducing throughput by 14.5% for phpBB, a web forum application, and by 26% for queries from TPC-C, compared to unmodified MySQL. Chaining encryption keys to user passwords requires 11-13 unique schema annotations to secure more than 20 sensitive fields and 2-7 lines of source code changes for three multi-user web applications.

People Publications Software Impact Press




Our source code is available. The source code has not been maintained since March 2014 and hence, it has only been tested up to Ubuntu 13.04. We might resume maintaining the source code in 2015. You can access it using git, as follows:
git clone -b public git://

To install, read doc/README.

We will announce any significant changes to CryptDB on the cryptdb-announce mailing list.

If you are interested in using CryptDB's source code in any way or to receive announcements about CryptDB, we encourage you to subscribe to the cryptdb-announce mailing list below.

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We no longer maintain the mailing list cryptdb-users. The list was used to ask questions about CryptDB, get help, and offer any suggestions. To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the archive.


A few companies or organizations used or adopted CryptDB, or were inspired by CryptDB. Most of these companies got in touch with us and gave credit to CryptDB.

SAP AG's system SEEED
SAP AG developed a system called SEEED, which implements CryptDB's design on top of their HANA database system. SEEED uses most of the building blocks of CryptDB as well as the adjustable encryption (onion) strategy. Here are some references: Project SEEED, white paper.

Google's Encrypted BigQuery
Google has developed an experimental extension of the BigQuery client, known as Encrypted BigQuery, which was informed and motivated by the CryptDB paper. It offers client-side encryption for a subset of query types, using encryption building blocks similar to the RND, HOM, and DET used in CryptDB. Their code is available here.

Lincoln Laboratory
Lincoln Labs added the CryptDB design on top of their D4M Accumulo no-SQL engine (using the RND, DET, OPE and HOM building blocks).
Microsoft's Always Encrypted SQL Server Microsoft's Always Encrypted SQL Server enables administrators to encrypt columns with RND and DET. Before this service, the database in the SQL Server was in plaintext during processing. Some applications can support a lot of fields with RND and a set of other fields with DET, thus giving a significant security increase as compared to no encryption for these fields. The service is now distributed as part of the SQL Server. The authors of Microsoft's Cipherbase system led this effort; Cipherbase is a successor of CryptDB which enhances CryptDB with trusted hardware support for queries not supported on encryption.

Skyhigh Networks
Skyhigh networks seems to be using most of the encryption building blocks in CryptDB. Skyhigh discusses these schemes here. is a SQL server at MIT hosting many MIT-ran applications. Volunteering users of Wordpress switched to running Wordpress through CryptDB, using our source code.

Startups based on CryptDB
Privic, a startup in Silicon Valley, and Cryptonor, a startup in Europe, are both based on CryptDB's design. CryptonorDB targets no-SQL databases.
All the companies above except two have been in touch with us already and confirmed the relationship of their system to CryptDB. We have not yet been in touch with Skyhigh networks and Microsoft's Always Encrypted team.