Acra (software)

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Developer(s)Cossack Labs
Initial release7 March 2017; 4 years ago (2017-03-07)
Written inGo (programming language), other supported languages/platforms: Java (programming language), Go, Python (programming language), PHP, Node.js, Objective-C, Swift (programming language)
Operating systemserver OS: CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL; application OS: Windows, Linux (x86/ARM), mobile (Android (operating system))
TypeDatabase security
LicenseApache 2.0

Acra (English pronunciation: [ˈa.kra]) from Ancient Greek wiktionary:ἄκρα (akra), a castle or citadel overlooking a town) is an Open-source software database security suite used for sensitive and personal Information privacy in web and mobile apps with centralised data storage.[1][2]

Acra was designed to prevent Leakage (machine learning) risks in Health care, finance, e-commerce, and Critical infrastructure protection by encrypting data, detecting of unauthorised behavior, and informing operators of the incident underway.[3]

Acra provides field level encryption, when each piece of data is encrypted with unique keys. Acra supports three form-factors: client-side encryption (developers install AcraWriter Software development kit to their applications and encrypt data in the app), “transparent” encryption (Acra works as reverse-proxy for SQL databases, encrypting and decrypting data between application and database) or as Representational state transfer API server.[4] As Reverse proxy, Acra works with SQL-compatible databases, like MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Relational Database Service.[5]

Open-source Acra uses Advanced Encryption Standard and Elliptic-curve Diffie–Hellman for storage encryption, and OpenSSL as cryptographic engine.[6] Expect Database encryption, Acra provides searchable encryption (search through encrypted data), data masking (anonymization), data tokenization (pseudonymization), SQL database firewall and intrusion detection via honey token (“poison records”).[4]

Acra Searchable Encryption (Acra SE) is a solution implemented in Acra for search in encrypted data based on the blind indexing approach. It develops and evolves the original idea of the CipherSweet[7] project, is described in a White paper authored by Eugene Pilyankevich, Dmytro Kornieiev, and Artem Storozhuk.[8]

Acra was built in 2017[9] based on the high-level cryptographic library Themis (software), also developed by the British Information security company Cossack Labs.[10] The latest stable release of Acra 0.85.0 was published in March 2019,[11] the latest commit in master branch is dated November 2020.[12]

Acra Community Edition is free for commercial and non-commercial use.[13] Acra encryption suite is available as 1-Click App on DigitalOcean Marketplace[14] also free of charge. Acra has separate, proprietary, and closed-source, Enterprise Edition with a wider number of available features and integrations.[15]

In 2020, in the Hacker Noon Noonies contest, Acra was awarded 1st place medal as a Best Open Source Project[16] and 2nd place medal as Best Use of Tech for Good.[17]


  1. "What is Acra". Acra on Github.
  2. "Acra. Linux Security. Tool and Usage". Linux Security.
  3. "Acra security features". Acra on Github.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Acra. Product sheet" (PDF). Cossack Labs.
  5. "Acra compatibility and intergation". Acra of Github.
  6. "Cryptography in Acra". Cossack Labs.
  7. "CipherSweet project". Github.
  8. Eugene Pilyankevich, Dmytro Kornieiev, and Artem Storozhuk. "Proxy-Mediated Searchable Encryption in SQL Databases Using Blind Indexes". Cryptology ePrint Archive.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. "INTRODUCING ACRA – An Open Source Database Security Suite". IS Buzz. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  10. "Cryptography in Acra". Cossack Labs on Github.
  11. "Acra releases". Acra on Github.
  12. "Acra latest update". Acra on Github.
  13. "Acra database security suite". Cossack Labs.
  14. "Acra 1-Click App on Digital Ocean Marketplace". Digital Ocean.
  15. "Acra plans". Cossack Labs.
  16. "Best Open Source Project, 2020". Hacker Noon Noonies.
  17. "Best Use of Tech for Good, 2020". Hacker Noon Noonies.

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