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How to encrypt and use encrypted connection strings in web.config

Posted on 2011-03-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
In my app I am reading the web.config file to read my connection string by a call to GetWebConfig every time i need access the database
If the connection string is not encrypted it is saved encrypted OK (first time)
Next time I call the function, I get an error on the last statement in the funcion returning the connection string, saying "NullReferenceException was unhandled by user code"
What am I thinking / doing wrong??

   Dim con As SqlConnection
   con = GetWebConfigCon("conPBIB")

------
   Function GetWebConfigCon(ByVal strCon As String) As SqlConnection
        Dim config As Configuration = WebConfigurationManager.OpenWebConfiguration("~")
        Dim configSection As ConfigurationSection = config.GetSection("connectionStrings")

       'If not encrypted, do that:        
       If Not configSection.SectionInformation.IsProtected Then
            configSection.SectionInformation.ProtectSection("DataProtectionConfigurationProvider")
            config.Save()
       End If

       'Decrypt (to be able to read? Not save…)
        configSection.SectionInformation.UnprotectSection()

       'Return Connectionstring:
       GetWebConfigCon = New SqlConnection(ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings(strCon).ConnectionString)

    End Function

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Question by:Joar
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Accepted Solution

by:
mayank_joshi earned 500 total points
ID: 35121417
For a web.config file with encrypted contents you dont need to Decrypt the  contents  before accessing the connection string. Whenever you access a content of web.config file the decryption is performed automatically.
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:mayank_joshi
ID: 35121459
Keep in mind that once the data is encrypted, when it's read from an ASP.NET page (i.e., reading the connection string information from a SqlDataSource control or programmatically, via ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings[connStringName].ConnectionString), ASP.NET automatically decrypts the connection string and returns the plain-text value. In other words, you don't need to change your code one iota after implementing encryption. Pretty cool!

Reference:-
http://www.4guysfromrolla.com/articles/021506-1.aspx
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Author Comment

by:Joar
ID: 35125882
When I remove the statement:
        configSection.SectionInformation.UnprotectSection()

I next time get an error on the last statement in the funcion returning the connection string:
   'Return Connectionstring:
       GetWebConfigCon = New SqlConnection(ConfigurationManager.ConnectionStrings(strCon).ConnectionString)


saying "NullReferenceException was unhandled by user code"
as if it is not finding the value of strCon which is "conPBIB", because it is encrypted?

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Author Comment

by:Joar
ID: 35125931
sorry, my problem. Seem to be specifying wrong connection string some where. Checking and coming back...
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Author Closing Comment

by:Joar
ID: 35126008
Thanks a lot!
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