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pea file archiving and encryption utility

PEA file archiving, authenticated encryption utility

freeware pea archiving utility
freeware pea encryption utility






Pea executable is the engine implementing PEA file format archiving, extraction, file encryption, and file decryption routines; it is released as Open Source freeware program under LGPLv3 license.
Pea file compression and cryptograpy utility can be compiled as a cross-platform autocontained (portable) binary for various archiutectures and platforms: BSD, Linux, macOS (both Intel and M1 aarch64), Windows.
Pea executable can be used from batch scripts or invoked by a GUI frontend like PeaZip or it can be used also as library from external application; it supports it's native .pea archive format and also raw file split / join with optional integrity check ranging to CRCs to cryptographically strong hashes, to detect treats ranging from casual file corruption to malicious data tampering.

open source encryption software

You don't need a separate download for getting Pea archiving utility's Windows, macOS, and Linux executables, sources and documentation, since are part of the respective PeaZip packages, available from download pages.

Read more: what is PEA file format, PEA file format specifications and implementation notes (pdf)

PEA file archiving utility implementation details:

Archiving and compression

Input data is compressed with a Deflate-based compression scheme (PCOMPRESS) defined in PEA file format specifications, resulting in compression ratio and compression speed similar to typical Deflate-based compressors of that class, like PKZip's Zip, and GNU GZip.
Please note that at present stage of development of PEA format maximum compression is out of the scope of the project; a fast and versatile deflate-based compression scheme was used in order to offer a reasonable tradeoff between compression ratio and speed to make PEA suitable for most uses.
For a standardised compression benchmark, including PeaZip's compression ratio using PEA format, you can look at Matt Mahoney's Large Text Compression Benchmarkfile compressibility

Integrity check, authentication and encryption algorithms

PEA archive format design is focused on security. Checksum / CRC, hash and strong encryption algorithms are provided by cross-platform Wolfgang Ehrhardt's cryptography library for Pascal/Delphi (released under zlib license), to enforce privacy of input data (AES based encryption, optionally Serpent or Twofish), to detect file corruption (checksum and hash functions), and, with use of authenticated encryption, to guarantee: secrecy (only intended recipient can read the data), integrity (data transmission was not tampered), and authenticity (data comes from expected sender).
Supported algorithms ranges from fast CRC32 / CRC64 to mainstream MD5 / SHA hash, to robust cryptographically secure hashes like SHA3 and Whirlpool (AES based 512 bit hash).



Pea: Object, Stream and Volume level; Raw file join/split optional integrity check


Adler32, CRC32, CRC64


MD5, SHA1, RIPEMD-160, SHA256, SHA512, Whirlpool, SHA3-256, SHA3-512

Pea: Stream level only

Authenticated encryption

AES128 HMAC, AES128/256 EAX, Serpent 128/256 EAX, Twofish 128/256 EAX, triple cascade encryption AES+Twofish+Serpent each 256 bit in EAX mode

File split and join

Pea utility file spanning (split and join) features are compatible with most file spliters applications like HJSplit, 7-Zip, and split Unix command: simply provide an input file to cut it into volumes of the desired output size.
Optionally Pea can save a control file containing checksum or hash (see Control algorithm paragraph) of each volume and of the original file, allowing file level and volume level integrity check, which will be ignored by other file splitters utilities.
Merging back the split file, Pea will check this control file and give a simple warning if it's not found, i.e. because the file was split by other file split application, or cast an error message if integrity verification hash or checskum is not matching with expected values.

Standalone file management features

Pea executable, other than implementing extraction and archiving in .PEA format, uses the internally supported features (encryption, checksum/hash, randomness sampling etc...) to provide general file management utility tools, not necessarily related with file archiving, as in PeaUtils spin-off utility:

How to compile

Pea utility is compiled and built using Lazarus, a cross platform Open Source RAD IDE based on FreePascal, a language widely compatible with Delphi, Kylix, ObjectPascal, capable to target Windows, Linux, BSD, Darwin / macOS and many other platforms, as well as ARM, aarch64, x86, x86_64 and many other architectures.
Sources are available from PeaZip sources page; source packages contains instructions and documentation also for compiling pea binary implementation.
While pea binary comes precompiled only for MS Windows, Linux, and BSD, Lazarus/FPC (and Wolfgang Ehrhardt's crypto library) targets a far larger number of systems and architectures, so any help in porting pea format and implementation on new platform is welcome.

Wolfgang Ehrhardt, one of most influential Delphi developer, passed away in early 2019 [1], [2].
His legacy is mathematic and cryptographic code of impressive quality, generously released as Open Source. This is a huge loss for Delphi community and a sore loss for me. His was the first, and the best, cryptographic library I used in Lazarus/FreePascal, and a natural choice for a project as PeaZip.
May his work live long and continue teaching and inspiring new generations of programmers!

PEA archive support in third parts software

To support Pea file format in your applications you may follow one of those ways:
  • use directly the executable Pea archiving utility (LGPL freeware) passing parameters through command line, as in PeaZip;
  • use Pea source code as library to call Pea-related functions from your code (as in the demo application in "sources" package);
  • create a new implementation following the file format specifications, which are released under public domain and, as for what is known to the author, are free and unencumbered for any use.

More online resources and information: authenticated encryptiondata confidentiality, integrity, authenticity assurance, EAX modetwo pass authentication cipher, AES (Rijndael)Joan Daemen, Vincent Rijmen algorithm encryption algorithm, Twofishtwofish cipher, SerpentSerpent cipher ciphers, checksum/CRCverify data integrity and hashcompute hash value Wikipedia pages, Deflatedata compression algorithm description on Wikipedia; software supporting PEA archives PeaExtractorsimple rar extractor application, Universal Extractorarchive extraction program

Synopsis: How to use PEA, cross platform Open Source file archiving and encryption utility, supporting its native .pea archive format, and providing compression, authenticated encryption, file spanning, secure deletion, checksum hashing and file comparing features.

Topics: create pea archives, extract pea files, compile pea binary

PeaZip > FAQ > PEA file archiving and authenticated encryption utility


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