Android Keystore

Android Keystore
Photo by Franck / Unsplash

The Android Keystore is a built-in security feature of the Android operating system that provides a secure and convenient way to store cryptographic keys for use by applications. The keystore is used for things like encrypting and decrypting sensitive data, such as user passwords and credit card numbers, as well as for securely signing digital certificates and other forms of authentication.

Here's an example of how to create a new key in the Android Keystore:

KeyStore keyStore = KeyStore.getInstance("AndroidKeyStore");

KeyGenerator keyGenerator = KeyGenerator.getInstance(
    KeyProperties.KEY_ALGORITHM_AES, "AndroidKeyStore");
    new KeyGenParameterSpec.Builder("key_alias",
        KeyProperties.PURPOSE_ENCRYPT | KeyProperties.PURPOSE_DECRYPT)

This code first creates an instance of the Android Keystore, and then generates a new key. The key can be used for encryption and decryption operations by specifying the purpose of the key as KeyProperties.PURPOSE_ENCRYPT | KeyProperties.PURPOSE_DECRYPT and the properties of the key are set using KeyGenParameterSpec.Builder class.

To protect the security of the keys, the keystore uses a hardware-backed security module, such as the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) or Secure Element (SE) on a device, to ensure that the keys are protected even if the device is lost or stolen.

Here's an example of how to use the key in the Android Keystore to encrypt some data:

KeyStore keyStore = KeyStore.getInstance("AndroidKeyStore");

SecretKey secretKey = (SecretKey) keyStore.getKey("key_alias", null);
Cipher cipher = Cipher.getInstance("AES/CBC/PKCS7Padding");
cipher.init(Cipher.ENCRYPT_MODE, secretKey);
byte[] encryptionBytes = cipher.doFinal(dataToEncrypt);

This code retrieves the key from the Android Keystore using the key's alias "key_alias", creates a Cipher instance and initializes it with the key to encrypt the data.

The Android Keystore also provides a way to restrict the use of keys to specific applications and to set access controls on keys. This can be used to prevent other applications from accessing sensitive data that is protected by the keystore. Additionally, the Android Keystore provides a way to back up and restore keys, which can be useful in case a device is lost or replaced.

Overall, the Android Keystore provides a secure and convenient way for developers to store and use cryptographic keys in their applications, while also providing a high level of security to protect sensitive data.