Is there a way to encrypt the whole data of a mysql DB using the AES 256 symmetric encryption method without encrypting the data manually using AES_ENCRYPT ?
This article explains about the same functionality in MsSql databases
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MySQL doesn't support data file encryption natively, but there are ways to do it. There is a product called Vormetric Transparent Encryption. Read info about it here: http://www.vormetric.com/data-security-solutions/use-cases/database-encryption But if you want to actually use SQL for this purpose, newer versions support AES_ENCRYPT() and AES_DECRYPT() (the official AES standard). You can read about the two functions here, in the mysql 5.x manual: https://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.1/en/encryption-functions.html#function_aes-encrypt
So basically you can encrypt the data prior to the insert query. MySql wont know the difference. also, you will have to decrypt it when extracting any data.
XtraBackup provides such a functionality