XXVII. mcrypt functions

These functions are intended to work with mcrypt.

This is an interface to the mcrypt library. mcrypt supports a wide area of block algorithms such as DES, TripleDES, Blowfish (default), 3-WAY, SAFER-SK64, SAFER-SK128, TWOFISH, TEA, RC2 and GOST in CBC, OFB, CFB and ECB cipher modes. Additionally, it supports RC6 and IDEA which are considered "non-free".

To use it, download libmcrypt-x.x.tar.gz from here and follow the included installation instructions. You need to compile PHP with the --with-mcrypt parameter to enable this extension.

mcrypt can be used to encrypt and decrypt using the above mentioned ciphers. The four important mcrypt commands (mcrypt_cfb(), mcrypt_cbc(), mcrypt_ecb(), and mcrypt_ofb()) can operate in both modes which are named MCRYPT_ENCRYPT and MCRYPT_DECRYPT, respectively.

Example 1. Encrypt an input value with TripleDES in ECB mode

$key = "this is a very secret key";
$input = "Let us meet at 9 o' clock at the secret place.";

$encrypted_data = mcrypt_ecb(MCRYPT_TripleDES, $key, $input, MCRYPT_ENCRYPT);
This example will give you the encrypted data as a string in $encrypted_data.

mcrypt can operate in four cipher modes (CBC, OFB, CFB, and ECB). We will outline the normal use for each of these modes. For a more complete reference and discussion see Applied Cryptography by Schneier (ISBN 0-471-11709-9).

  • ECB (electronic codebook) is suitable for random data, such as encrypting other keys. Since data there is short and random, the disadvantages of ECB have a favorable negative effect.

  • CBC (cipher block chaining) is especially suitable for encrypting files where the security is increased over ECB significantly.

  • CFB (cipher feedback) is the best mode for encrypting byte streams where single bytes must be encrypted.

  • OFB (output feedback) is comparable to CFB, but can be used in applications where error propagation cannot be tolerated.

PHP does not support encrypting/decrypting bit streams currently. As of now, PHP only supports handling of strings.

For a complete list of supported ciphers, see the defines at the end of mcrypt.h. The general rule is that you can access the cipher from PHP with MCRYPT_ciphername.

Here is a short list of ciphers which are currently supported by PHP3/mcrypt. If a cipher is not listed here, but is listed by mcrypt as supported, you can safely assume that this documentation is outdated.



  • MCRYPT_TripleDES










  • MCRYPT_TWOFISH (for older mcrypt 2.x versions)

  • MCRYPT_TWOFISH128 (TWOFISHxxx are available in newer 2.x versions)





You must (in CFB and OFB mode) or can (in CBC mode) supply an initialization vector (IV) to the respective cipher function. The IV must be unique and must be the same when decrypting/encrypting. With data which is stored encrypted, you can take the output of a function of the index under which the data is stored (e.g. the MD5 key of the filename). Alternatively, you can transmit the IV together with the encrypted data (see chapter 9.3 of Applied Cryptography by Schneier (ISBN 0-471-11709-9) for a discussion of this topic).

Table of Contents
mcrypt_get_cipher_name — Get the name of the specified cipher
mcrypt_get_block_size — Get the block size of the specified cipher
mcrypt_get_key_size — Get the key size of the specified cipher
mcrypt_create_iv — Create an initialization vector (IV) from a random source
mcrypt_cbc — Encrypt/decrypt data in CBC mode
mcrypt_cfb — Encrypt/decrypt data in CFB mode
mcrypt_ecb — Encrypt/decrypt data in ECB mode
mcrypt_ofb — Encrypt/decrypt data in OFB mode