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How does format-preserving encryption work?

30 August,2022 by Rambler

The Encryption algorithm , Format Preserving Encryption (FPE)  maintains the format of the data. For example , if you had a credit card with 16 digits -  01234567890123456 -  acting as the input to the block cipher ,  then same format would be preserved at the output - 7890123456789012.   

The ability to maintain the data format has  benefits for data modelling.  The data model is able to preserve the same data model structure  i.e length and format.  There is no requirement to adjust length  to support  other formats such as hexadecimal or base-64 types. 

When FPE is applied it is possible to keep working with the existing database without any structural changes and if properly managed not making any functional changes to the database. 


  Credit Card Number Telephone Number
Input 6789 1234 4567 897-234-4567
Output 8976 2476 0987 234-890-3456


Some other benefits in using FPE are :

1) Simplified infrastructure. FPE  is normally applied as a service and the encryption\decryption\masking operations  are applied through HTTP API calls.

2) Data no longer tokenized.  The encryption process retains the input data format. 


For more in depth information on Format-preserving encryption check this link

Author: Rambler (


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