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I am not sure how password protected archives work but is it the programs enforcing the protection or is it the way the format works where if it's password protected, there is no way to extract the contents?

I read there is a software that does this in linux but I can't verify it myself.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

A password-protected zip file is actually encrypted; it's not just the unzipping application or operating system that "enforces" the password.

However, the standard zip encryption is not very secure (see Is it possible to crack ZIP passwords? and How secure is a Windows password protected zip file?) and it is easy to obtain a password-cracking app.

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