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You're thinking at the wrong level. The password that encrypts a user's credit card data is almost certainly not the password a customer logs in with. It's some highly controlled password that only some privileged authentication server knows.

The goal is to reduce the attack surface, and prevent incidental discovery of data. For example, I could set up a server that manages high security passwords and only grant access to a select few trusted people. I have to carefully audit how that server gets used, and who can use it, but I can let any old DBA mess around with all my encrypted data. I can throw it on any old server, I could outsource it to some cloud hosting company, it doesn't matter. That's a huge win in some industries. The only thing I need to trust now are the servers with credentials and the CryptDB software itself, I don't need to care about the data itself.




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