Which Java data type would you choose for storing sensitive information, like passwords, and why?

By | March 5, 2023

In Java, sensitive information such as passwords should be stored using the char[] data type instead of the String data type.

The reason for this is that the String class is immutable, which means that once a string is created, its value cannot be changed. When a String object is no longer needed, it remains in the memory until the garbage collector removes it. This creates a potential security risk because if a password is stored as a String, it could be retrieved from the memory by a malicious program, even after it has been used.

In contrast, the char[] data type is mutable, which means that its contents can be changed. When a char[] array is no longer needed, its contents can be overwritten or cleared, which makes it more difficult for a malicious program to retrieve the password from the memory.

Therefore, it is recommended to use char[] arrays to store sensitive information such as passwords, and to clear the array as soon as the password is no longer needed. Additionally, it is important to use secure coding practices to ensure that the password is not accidentally logged or displayed to unauthorized users.

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