PHP Symmetric Cipher


This example illustrates the AES 256 symmetric cipher in CBC mode. An initialization vector is needed, so we generate one using an openssl function. The variable $strong is used to determine whether the IV generated was cryptographically strong.


$method = "aes-256-cbc"; // cipher method
$iv_length = openssl_cipher_iv_length($method); // obtain required IV length
$strong = false; // set to false for next line
$iv = openssl_random_pseudo_bytes($iv_length, $strong); // generate initialization vector

/* NOTE: The IV needs to be retrieved later, so store it in a database.
However, do not reuse the same IV to encrypt the data again. */

if(!$strong) { // throw exception if the IV is not cryptographically strong
    throw new Exception("IV not cryptographically strong!");

$data = "This is a message to be secured."; // Our secret message
$pass = "Stack0verfl0w"; // Our password

/* NOTE: Password should be submitted through POST over an HTTPS session.
Here, it's being stored in a variable for demonstration purposes. */

$enc_data = openssl_encrypt($data, $method, $password, true, $iv); // Encrypt


/* Retrieve the IV from the database and the password from a POST request */
$dec_data = openssl_decrypt($enc_data, $method, $pass, true, $iv); // Decrypt

Base64 Encode & Decode

If the encrypted data needs to be sent or stored in printable text, then the base64_encode() and base64_decode() functions should be used respectively.

/* Base64 Encoded Encryption */
$enc_data = base64_encode(openssl_encrypt($data, $method, $password, true, $iv));

/* Decode and Decrypt */
$dec_data = openssl_decrypt(base64_decode($enc_data), $method, $password, true, $iv);