PHP 5.5.17 is available

Encrypted Storage Model

SSL/SSH protects data travelling from the client to the server: SSL/SSH does not protect persistent data stored in a database. SSL is an on-the-wire protocol.

Once an attacker gains access to your database directly (bypassing the webserver), stored sensitive data may be exposed or misused, unless the information is protected by the database itself. Encrypting the data is a good way to mitigate this threat, but very few databases offer this type of data encryption.

The easiest way to work around this problem is to first create your own encryption package, and then use it from within your PHP scripts. PHP can assist you in this with several extensions, such as Mcrypt and Mhash, covering a wide variety of encryption algorithms. The script encrypts the data before inserting it into the database, and decrypts it when retrieving. See the references for further examples of how encryption works.

In the case of truly hidden data, if its raw representation is not needed (i.e. will not be displayed), hashing may also be taken into consideration. The well-known example for hashing is storing the cryptographic hash of a password in a database, instead of the password itself. See also crypt().

Example #1 Using hashed password field

<?php

// storing password hash
// $random_chars retrieved e.g. using /dev/random
$query  sprintf("INSERT INTO users(name,pwd) VALUES('%s','%s');",
            
pg_escape_string($username),
            
pg_escape_string(crypt($password'$2a$07$' $random_chars '$')));
$result pg_query($connection$query);

// querying if user submitted the right password
$query sprintf("SELECT pwd FROM users WHERE name='%s';",
            
pg_escape_string($username));
$row pg_fetch_assoc(pg_query($connection$query));

if (
$row && crypt($password$row['pwd']) == $row['pwd']) {
    echo 
'Welcome, ' htmlspecialchars($username) . '!';
} else {
    echo 
'Authentication failed for ' htmlspecialchars($username) . '.';
}

?>
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User Contributed Notes 4 notes

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19
seigoryu at hotmail dot de
1 year ago
I would strongly recommend using SHA-2 or better the new SHA-3 hash algorithm. MD5 is practically unusable, since there are very well working rainbow tables around the whole web. Almost the same for SHA-1. Of course you should never do a hash without salting!
up
9
Reiner
3 years ago
Using functions to obfuscate the hash generation does not increase security. This is security by obscurity. The algorithm used to hash the data needs to be secure by itself.

I would not suggest to use other data as salt. For example if you use the username, you won't be able to change the values without rehashing the password.

I would use a dedicated salt value stored in the same database table.

Why? Because a lot of users use the same login credentials on different web services. And in case another service also uses the username as salt, the resulting hashed password might be the same!

Also an attacker may prepare a rainbow table with prehashed passwords using the username and other known data as salt. Using random data would easily prevent this with little programming effort.
up
3
somebody
7 years ago
A better way to hash would be to use a separate salt for each user. Changing the salt upon each password update will ensure the hashes do not become stale.
up
-1
Fairydave at the location of dodo.com.au
8 years ago
I think the best way to have a salt is not to randomly generate one or store a fixed one. Often more than just a password is saved, so use the extra data. Use things like the username, signup date, user ID, anything which is saved in the same table. That way you save on space used by not storing the salt for each user.

Although your method can always be broken if the hacker gets access to your database AND your file, you can make it more difficult. Use different user data depending on random things, the code doesn't need to make sense, just produce the same result each time. For example:

if ((asc(username character 5) > asc(username character 2))
{
   if (month the account created > 6)
      salt = ddmmyyyy of account created date
   else
      salt = yyyyddmm of account created date
}
else
{
   if (day of account created > 15)
      salt = user id * asc(username character 3)
   else
      salt = user id + asc(username character 1) + asc(username character 4)
}

This wont prevent them from reading passwords when they have both database and file access, but it will confuse them and slow them up without much more processing power required to create a random salt
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