Implementing Oracle Transparent Data Encryption

This section contains an overview and discusses how to set Oracle Transparent Data Encryption.

See also: Oracle® Database Advanced Security Administrator's Guide.

PeopleTools enables you to implement Oracle’s Transparent data encryption (TDE) feature to encrypt the columns you select, enhancing the security of your PeopleSoft applications.

Transparent data encryption (TDE) enables encryption of sensitive data in database columns as it is stored in the operating system files. It provides for secure storage and management of encryption keys in a security module located outside database, separating ordinary program functions from those that pertain to security, such as encryption.

This separation enables you to divide administration duties between DBAs and security administrators, which is a strategy that enhances security because no administrator is granted comprehensive access to data. For example, one administrator manages only the keys, while another manages only the database.

TDE is a key-based access control system enforcing authorization using these keys:




For each database table that contains encrypted columns, there is one encryption key used to encrypt all the columns, regardless of the number of encrypted columns in a given table.


Each table's column encryption key is, in turn, encrypted with the database server's master key. The Master key is stored in an Oracle wallet, which is part of the external security module.

TDE is transparent to the application, and no views or additional tables are required. The application logic associated with SQL and table access will continue to work without modification.

To implement this feature within your PeopleSoft application, you need to:

  • Determine the fields that are candidates for TDE.

  • Set up the Oracle wallet.

  • Set the encryption algorithm.

  • Encrypt fields.

Examples of information that are candidates for TDE include:

  • Names.

  • Contact information (address, telephone number, email address, and so on).

  • Credit card number.

  • Passport number.

  • Driver’s license number.

  • Age.

  • Salary.

  • Academic grades, scores, marks, and so on.

Note: Depending on the type of business and country in which you are running your PeopleSoft applications, there may be specific types of information, PII, that needs to be encrypted to comply with regulatory standards. For more information, see your PeopleSoft application documentation.

With TDE, each individual table has its own table key, which is used to encrypt the selected columns in that table. Each table key is, in turn, encrypted using the TDE master key. The TDE master key is stored and protected outside the database in an Oracle Wallet, which is a container that stores authentication and signing credentials, including:

  • TDE master key.

  • PKI private keys.

  • Certificates.

  • Trusted certificates for SSL.

Encrypted table keys are placed in the data dictionary. When a user enters data into the column defined as encrypted, the Oracle database retrieves the master key from the wallet, decrypts the encryption key for that table from the data dictionary, uses that encryption key on the input value, and stores the encrypted data in the database.

Setting up the Oracle Wallet

Before implementing TDE, creating an Oracle Wallet is required.

Warning! After implementing TDE, the Oracle Wallet must be opened each time a database instance starts (or has been restarted) or else TDE will not work. If the wallet is not open, users will see error messages if they attempt to access any data encrypted using TDE.

To set up an Oracle Wallet for TDE:

  1. Specify the wallet location.

    By default, the wallet is created in the directory $ORACLE_BASE/admin/$ORACLE_SID/wallet.

    So, if $ORACLE_BASE is /ds1/product/oracle and $ORACLE_SID is HRDMO, then the wallet will be stored in the directory /ds1/product/oracle/admin/HRDMO/wallet.

    You can set a different directory by specifying it in the sqlnet.ora file located in $ORACLE_HOME/network/admin. For instance, if you want the wallet to be in /orawall directory, place the following lines in the sqlnet.ora file:


    Note: Oracle recommends adding this location to regular backup utility.

  2. Create the wallet.

    Issue the following SQL as a user with the ALTER SYSTEM privilege, such as SYSTEM, SYS, or SYSDBA. In this example, HRMSTKEY is the password.

    alter system set encryption key 
    authenticated by "HRMSTKEY";

    The preceding command creates the wallet in the specified location, sets the password of the wallet as HRMSTKEY, and opens the wallet for TDE to store and retrieve the master key.

    Note: The password is case-sensitive and must be enclosed in double quotes. The password doesn't show up in clear text in any dynamic performance views or logs.

Oracle Wallet can also be configured using OpenSSL and Orapki tool.

Opening and Closing the Wallet

After you create the wallet and set the password, every time you start the database, you'll have to open the wallet explicitly, using SYS, SYSTEM, or SYSDBA accounts.

For example,

alter system set encryption wallet open authenticated by "HRMSTKEY";

To close the wallet:

alter system set encryption wallet close;

You set the desired encryption algorithm used by TDE on the PeopleTools Options page in the Database Encryption Algorithm edit box.

Access the PeopleTools Options page (PeopleTools, Utilities, Administration, PeopleTools Options).

The algorithms you can enter are:

  • Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm with a 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit key.

  • Triple DES algorithm with a 168-bit key.

Specify the desired algorithm by entering one of the following values into the Database Encryption Algorithm edit box exactly as it appears below:

  • AES128

  • AES192

  • AES256

  • 3DES168

Note: You must specify an encryption algorithm to enable the Encrypt option for a field definition in Application Designer.

You encrypt fields in Application Designer by selecting the Encrypt check box on a field definition, and then creating a table or altering an existing table.

Note: The Encrypt check box is enabled only on Oracle databases that also have an encryption algorithm specified in the Database Encryption Algorithm edit box on the PeopleTools Options page.

These PeopleSoft field types can be encrypted:

  • Character

  • Long Character (see note below)

  • Number

  • Signed number

  • Date

  • DateTime

  • Time

Note: Long Character field types may only take advantage of TDE when the following conditions are true: the field length is greater than 0 and less than 1334 and the Raw Binary field attribute is not set.

These PeopleSoft field types can not be encrypted:

  • Image

  • Image reference

  • Attachment

After you define the field to be encrypted, and either create a table or alter an existing table containing that field definition, the Build feature generates DDL SQL containing the ENCRYPT clause in the following syntax:


For example,


Note: If you are using Oracle Database version or higher, the syntax includes the NOMAC parameter. For example, ALTER TABLE PS_AM_BI_HDR MODIFY (CR_CARD_NBR ENCRYPT using 'AES192' 'NOMAC' NO SALT);

The NOMAC parameter reduces the storage requirements and provides improved performance.

See your Oracle database documentation for more information on NOMAC.

When DDL SQL containing the ENCRYPT clause is run against the database, Oracle:

  • creates a cryptographically secure encryption key for the table containing the column.

  • encrypts the clear text data in the column, using the specified encryption algorithm.

This section covers these topics related to the ongoing maintenance of encrypted fields:

  • Decrypting fields.

  • Regenerating an encryption key.

  • Upgrading TDE encrypted fields.

Decrypting Fields

If you decide that you no longer want a field encrypted for TDE, you can issue a SQL ALTER operation using the DECRYPT clause. For example, assume you wanted to decrypt the SSN field on the ACCOUNT table.


Regenerating An Encryption Key

Situations where you might consider regenerating a table encryption key include:

  • You suspect a table key has been compromised.

  • You want to take advantage of a different encryption algorithm.

You regenerate a table encryption key by issuing a SQL ALTER operation using the REKEY clause. For example, assume you wanted to rekey the PS_AM_BI_HDR table to take advantage of AES256.


This creates a new table key and recreates the encrypted column values using the new table key.

Upgrading TDE Encrypted Fields

All metadata field definitions are delivered with no-encryption attributes enabled. PeopleSoft applications will not deliver any metadata indicating encryption enabled for any field for an initial installation database file, project, or a PeopleTools or PeopleSoft application patch.

If you customize the field by adding TDE encryption, you need to keep track of the fields and associated record definitions and ensure that you maintain the desired encryption status through any upgrades that you perform.

See Your PeopleSoft upgrade documentation

Altering Tables With TDE Encrypted Fields

When altering tables with TDE encrypted fields using the Alter in Place option, Application Designer automatically switches the Index Creation Options selection to Recreate index only if modified even if you specifically select Recreate index if it already exists in the Build Settings dialog box.