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How to scramble salary data?

Are you aware of a way to scramble salary data? Our Prodcution instance has all the appropiate security that we need, as we limit developer and user access. However, with our Development and Test instance clones we would like to be able to give our support staff (technical and functional) wide access; however, our inability to scramble only the salary data prohibits this.

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In pre-10g database versions, you can use triggers and DBMS_OBSFUCATION_TOOLKIT to encrypt/decrypt any data you wish. Starting with 10g, you should use DBMS_CRYPTO (which is also easier to spell!) which provides similar functionality. I believe that there are a few good Metalink articles providing some examples of how you could implement such a system. The problem with encryption is that you need to maintain the encryption/decryption keys somewhere safe yet still make them available to the automated processes that need them. So, you may make it more difficult to access the data directly, but it will be near impossible to absolutely secure the data using encryption due to the key storage problem.

This was first published in December 2004

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