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Specifying a Protected Configuration Provider 

You can encrypt and decrypt sections of a Web.config file using a ProtectedConfigurationProvider class. The following list describes the protected configuration providers included in the .NET Framework:

Both providers offer strong encryption of data. However, if you are planning on using the same encrypted configuration file on multiple servers, such as a Web farm, only the RSAProtectedConfigurationProvider enables you to export the encryption keys and import them on another server.

The .NET Framework also enables you to define your own protected configuration providers. For details, see Implementing a Protected Configuration Provider.

Configuring a Protected Configuration Provider

You can specify your own protected configuration provider or you can use one of the providers built into ASP.NET. By default, the Machine.config file specifies the following protected configuration providers:

  • An RsaProtectedConfigurationProvider instance named RsaProtectedConfigurationProvider. This is the configured as the default provider.

  • An DPAPIProtectedConfigurationProvider instance named DataProtectionConfigurationProvider.

You specify a protected configuration provider in the configProtectedData section of a configuration file. If you want to specify your own provider with custom settings, you can declare a new provider instance using the add element of the providers element. You can identify your provider instance as the default provider using the defaultProvider attribute of the configProtectedData element.

The following example configures an RsaProtectedConfigurationProvider instance with the name SampleProvider and sets it as the default provider.

<configuration>
  <configProtectedData defaultProvider="SampleProvider">
    <providers>
      <add name="SampleProvider" 
        type="System.Configuration.RsaProtectedConfigurationProvider, 
              System.Configuration, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, 
              PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a,
             processorArchitecture=MSIL"
        keyContainerName="SampleKeys" 
        useMachineContainer="true" />
    </providers>
  </configProtectedData>
</configuration>

You use the name of the protected configuration provider instance when encrypting configuration sections. For more information, see Encrypting and Decrypting Configuration Sections.

Protected Configuration Provider Options

Each protected configuration provider exposes options that you can set using attributes of the provider's declaration in the configuration file. All providers require the type and description attribute as well as the keyName for the provider instance. Beyond that, the options are unique to each provider type.

The following table describes the configuration options for the RSAProtectedConfigurationProvider.

Attribute Description

type

The type of protected configuration provider. The following example shows a type definition for the RsaProtectedConfigurationProvider:

type="System.Configuration.RsaProtectedConfigurationProvider,
      System.Configuration, Version=2.0. 0.0,
      Culture=neutral,
      PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d0a3a,
      processorArchitecture=MSIL"

description

A description of the provider instance.

keyContainerName

The name of the RSA key container used to encrypt or decrypt the contents of the Web.config file.

NoteNote

The ASP.NET process must have read access to the specified RSA key container. You can grant access to an RSA key container with the Aspnet_regiis.exe tool using the -pa switch. For more information, see Importing and Exporting Protected Configuration RSA Key Containers.

useMachineContainer

true if the RSA key container is a machine-level key container; false if the RSA key container is a user-level key container. For more information, see Encrypting Configuration Information Using Protected Configuration.

useOAEP

true to use Optimal Asymmetric Encryption Padding (OAEP) when encrypting and decrypting; otherwise, false. For more information, see the RSAOAEPKeyExchangeFormatter class.

cspProviderName

The name of the Windows cryptography API (crypto API) cryptographic service provider (CSP). For more information, see ProviderName.

The following table describes the configuration options for the DPAPIProtectedConfigurationProvider.

Attribute Description

type

The type of protected configuration provider. The following example shows a type definition for the DPAPIProtectedConfigurationProvider:

type="System.Configuration.DPAPIProtectedConfigurationProvider,
      System.Configuration, Version=2.0.0.0,
      Culture=neutral,
      PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d0a3a,
      processorArchitecture=MSIL"

description

A description of the provider instance.

keyEntropy

An application-specific value to include with the encryption key to protect against other applications being able to decrypt encrypted information. For more information, refer to the OptionalEntropy parameter of the CryptProtectData method of the Windows data protection API (DPAPI).

useMachineProtection

true to use machine-specific protection; false to use user-account-specific protection. When true, any process running on the computer can unprotect data, and it is recommended that you restrict access to encrypted data using an Access Control List (ACL). For more information, see the CRYPTPROTECT_LOCAL_MACHINE value for the dwFlags parameter of the CryptProtectData method of the Windows data protection API (DPAPI).

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