Simple Data Encryption Library For PHP 5.3+

1.1.0 2016-03-14 17:36 UTC


Build Status Coverage Status

If you are looking for the answer to the question, "How do I encrypt sensitive data in PHP?", you are in the correct place. Read through this README, execute a couple of commands, write about four lines of code, and you will have secure encryption.


Install via Composer:

  1. Download Composer using your preferred method.

  2. Add PHPEncryptData to your project:

     $ php composer.phar require archwisp/php-encrypt-data

Basic Usage

  1. Generate your encryption key:

     $ head -c 32 /dev/urandom | base64
  2. Generate your MAC key:

     $ head -c 32 /dev/urandom | base64
  3. Write your code:

     require __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';
     // These keys won't actually work... on purpose. Create your OWN!
     $encryptionKey = '6zp4y5vnUQpfEroWI6dMq5lC46F5Dmqa4NDcM1W42k=';
     $macKey = 'RJikKksPg3UmqgQPXBwCmcSOMHQn0iOtQAFcfcQOTU=';
     $phpcrypt = new \PHPEncryptData\Simple($encryptionKey, $macKey);
     $ciphertext = $phpcrypt->encrypt('Foobar');
     printf("Ciphertext: %s\n", $ciphertext);
     $decrypted = $phpcrypt->decrypt($ciphertext);
     printf("Decrypted: %s\n", $decrypted);

How This Library Came To Be

A fellow programmer/friend whom I know from my local PHP user group was tasked with encrypting some data in an application and started searching Google for a good solution. After finding something promising, she sent what she had found to me asking for a review, knowing that I have a deep interest and some background in cryptography. Upon reviewing the code, I found some critical problems. As I wrote my response and explained the fixes that would need to be implemented, I realized that these are not things that I could expect anyone without some cryptanalysis experience to to implement correctly.

So, I set out to create this library in which I have made all of the hard decisions for you. There are better constructions out there but they come with some baggage that is more difficult to handle and so they are not really suited for "simple" libraries. In this library's current design, all you must do is run a couple of commands to generate a couple of keys that will be stuck in your code. Then, you just call the encrypt() and decrypt() functions when you need them.

My goal with this library is to improve the baseline for encryption in PHP.

Calling Smart Crypto People

Every bit of review and feedback you're willing to provide is appreciated. If you see a major bug, efficiency improvement, or design decision that can be improved in a concrete way, please submit an issue. src/Simple.php is where everything happens and tests/SimpleTest.php contains the unit tests.

Thank you!

Cryptographic Details

For most cryptographic functionality, this library makes use of the Mcrypt extension. The extension has been around for over a decade but is not include by default on many distributions. You will need to ensure that you have it installed.

The cryptographic primitives & practices behind this library are:

  • 192-bit Rijndael block cipher (256-bit key and 192-bit block size; not AES compatible)
  • CFB block cipher mode
  • HMAC-SHA-256/128 (first 128 bits of output)
  • Encrypt-Then-MAC construction
  • Constant-time MAC comparison
  • Uses /dev/urandom as its PRNG

Example (Explained)

The goal of this library was secure defaults and simplicity. There are five simple steps to follow to encrypt and decrypt data (see the Example.php script to see it all in one place):

  1. Find a Linux machine that has been running for more than 15 minutes and generate an encryption key with the following command:

     head -c 32 /dev/urandom | base64

    The output will look something like (Don't use this sample key!... it won't work anyway):

  2. Run the command a second time to generate your MAC key:

     head -c 32 /dev/urandom | base64

    Again, the output will again look like this (Ensure that it is not the same as the encryption key.):

  3. Given the above inputs, add the following code to your bootstrap:

     require __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';
     $encryptionKey = '6zp4y5vnUQpfEroWI6dMq5lC46F5Dmqa4NDcM1W42k=';
     $macKey = 'RJikKksPg3UmqgQPXBwCmcSOMHQn0iOtQAFcfcQOTU=';
     $phpcrypt = new \PHPEncryptData\Simple($encryptionKey, $macKey);
  4. Call the encrypt() function:

     $ciphertext = $phpcrypt->encrypt('Foobar');

    This will generate output similar to this:


    As you can see, the output is base64 encoded for you and the MAC is appended automatically, so you don't have to worry about any of the cryptographic details. Even the construction is encoded into this string to account for future changes. Just feed plaintext in, and encoded & signed ciphertext comes out.

    Also, keep in mind that the IV for each encryption is randomized, so encrypting the same value will produce different ciphertexts. The encrypt() function accepts an IV as an optional second argument if you need to manually control it. Most people should not use it.

  5. Call the decrypt() function:

     $ciphertext = $phpcrypt->decrypt(

    This will produce the value:


Unit Tests

  1. Download Composer using your preferred method.

  2. From the PHPEncryptData directory, install the project dependencies:

     $ php composer.phar install
  3. (optional) If you want to customize the PHPUnit configuration:

     $ cp phpunit.xml.dist phpunit.xml

    Then customize phpunit.xml to your liking.

  4. Execute phpunit binary from the project root:

     $ ./vendor/bin/phpunit


  • Bryan C. Geraghty: Original author
  • John Kary: Responsible for really cleaning the project up