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Chapter 9. Keeping Your Information Secu... > Encrypting and Decrypting a Database

Encrypting and Decrypting a Database

A database created with Microsoft Office Access 2003 is a binary file, meaning that it is composed of mostly unreadable characters. If you open it in a word processor or a text editor, at first glance it looks like gibberish. However, if you poke around in the file long enough, you will discover quite a bit of information. Most likely, not enough information is exposed to allow someone to steal anything valuable. But if you are concerned that someone might scan your database file with a utility that looks for key words, you can encrypt the file to make it really unreadable.

Encrypting a file doesn’t prevent it from being opened and viewed in Access. It does not add password protection or any other kind of security. But it does keep people who don’t have a copy of Access from being able to read and perhaps make sense of the data in your file. The only difference you might notice when opening an encrypted database in Access is that some tasks might take slightly longer. If this is an issue, you will want to decrypt it before you work with it.


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