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I'm developing a desktop application and it required connecting to a remote MySQL database server, currently I save all information (server IP, TCP port, username, password, database name) needed for the connection in a configuration file call app_config.property.
I realize this is not secure way of doing things and I would like to know the most secure and professional way of keeping secure data like this.

I developed it in Java 7.0; my intention is to run it on Windows 7 as well as Ubuntu Linux.

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    Where will you store the encryption key to decrypt the information? – Fiasco Labs Oct 14 '15 at 4:51
  • Which OS are you using? IIRC in .NET there are some options for this. – S.L. Barth Oct 14 '15 at 5:34
  • @S.L.Barth I developed it in java 7.0 my intention is to run it in Windows 7 as well as Linux Ubuntu – dilee Oct 14 '15 at 5:53
  • @Begueradj I developed it in java 7.0 my intention is to run it in Windows 7 as well as Linux Ubuntu – dilee Oct 14 '15 at 5:55
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    @S.L.Barth Your editing is helpful to improving the question,i appreciate you help – dilee Oct 14 '15 at 6:00
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Data stored in a text file stay there in clear format unless you encrypt that file itself.

As the other answerer said, better to store your credentials in the MySQL database itself. Hash and salt your password (and why not using a pepper too?)

Useful links with very good answers:

  1. How to securely hash passwords?
  2. How to store salt?
  3. What is the purpose of a Pepper?

EDIT:

Following your comments:

  • You either want to do the same thing as Wordpress, Joomla and other famous CMS do: create a separate table where you can store such information.
  • Or may be you are hosting your web application on a server on which you are limited in order the number of DBs and tables within a DB you are allowed to create: in that case, you can create a PHP configuration file (instead of a text file) where you store that information and follow the good practices in such situations (such as protecting the folder in which this file is located with an .htaccess file)
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    problem is I have to save database credentials outside the database so saving a credentials in a file is the only solution I came up with – dilee Oct 14 '15 at 6:48
  • When my application starts it read my credential file and establish a connection with database server, all the users credentials are in database table,to establish a connection with database, my application must have a database credentials out side the database – dilee Oct 14 '15 at 7:00
  • @dilee You can create a separate table in your DB called for example where you store the credentials and other info (Wordpress does the same, then it reads that table via wp-config.php file) – user45139 Oct 14 '15 at 7:05
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If possible don't store the username and password in the configuration file, ask the user to provide a username and password when they open the application and create a login for the user on the database and only give that user the minimum set of permissions to the db tables that they need for the application to run.

https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-create-a-new-user-and-grant-permissions-in-mysql

  • I'm already managing user permissions in database but still i have to save database credentials some ware outside the database – dilee Oct 14 '15 at 6:22
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There is not a secure way to do that. You can obfuscate, hide or do whatever you want, but if the user/password is in a configuration file or inside the code it will never be secure. Someone can always access the data/executable and get the user/password, the only difference is the difficulty to get that information (just reading a file or having to reverse engeneer the code). The only secure way is having the user introducing that data.

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Take the average PHP web application, like Wordpress, and it saves Mysql login in clear text. Of course the average user cannot see this, only users who have access to the code.

What I'm trying to say is that if this could be done otherwise, it probably would be done so.

You could setup a webservice that interacts with the database, and limit access and rights to the database more precisely, but I'm not sure if that really improves security, and I don't have time to think that out.

You could limit database rights per table to whatever is needed: select, update, delete, and/or insert.

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obfuscating the code will do this fine, I wouldn't use a config file in pure text.

but if you want a config file, you can have encrypted files in java, I myself have written a few encryption applications using AES and PPK (RSA). encrypt the file you can either encrypt the file with a key only your application code will know or you can use hardware IDs and salts so you cant move the config file across different computers.

using a byte stream you can encrypt and decrypt on the fly without changing files unless you want to.

This would be my suggestion for this specific scenario.

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