Kohana supports built-in encryption and decryption via the [Encrypt] class, which is a convenient wrapper for the Mcrypt library.

To use the class, first start by ensuring you have the Mcrypt extension loaded to your PHP config. See the Mcrypt Installation page on php.net. The Mcrypt extension requires libmcrypt.

Next, copy the default config/encryption.php from system/config folder to your application/config folder.

The default Encryption config file that ships with Kohana 3.2.x looks like this:


return array(

    'default' => array(
        * The following options must be set:
        * string   key     secret passphrase
        * integer  mode    encryption mode, one of MCRYPT_MODE_*
        * integer  cipher  encryption cipher, one of the Mcrpyt cipher constants
        'cipher' => MCRYPT_RIJNDAEL_128,
        'mode'   => MCRYPT_MODE_NOFB,


A couple of notes about the config. First, you may have multiple first-level keys other than ‘default’ if you need to. In this respect, the config file is similar to having multiple databases defined in your config/database.php file. Second, notice there is no key provided. You need to add that. It is strongly recommended that you choose a high-strength random key using the pwgen linux program

shell> pwgen 63 1

…or by going to GRC.com/passwords.htm.

Complete Config Example

Here’s a sample encryption configuration with three types of encryption defined. If you copy this example, please change your keys!

// application/config/encrypt.php

return array(

    'default' => array(
        'key'    => 'trwQwVXX96TIJoKxyBHB9AJkwAOHixuV1ENZmIWyanI0j1zNgSVvqywy044Agaj',
        'cipher' => MCRYPT_RIJNDAEL_128,
        'mode'   => MCRYPT_MODE_NOFB,
    'blowfish' => array(
        'key'    => '7bZJJkmNrelj5NaKoY6h6rMSRSmeUlJuTeOd5HHka5XknyMX4uGSfeVolTz4IYy',
        'cipher' => MCRYPT_BLOWFISH,
        'mode'   => MCRYPT_MODE_ECB,
    'tripledes' => array(
        'key'    => 'a9hcSLRvA3LkFc7EJgxXIKQuz1ec91J7P6WNq1IaxMZp4CTj5m31gZLARLxI1jD',
        'cipher' => MCRYPT_3DES,
        'mode'   => MCRYPT_MODE_CBC,

You can view the available encryption ciphers and modes on your system by running…

shell> php -r "print_r(get_defined_constants());" | grep MCRYPT

For more information on Mcrypt ciphers, visit php.net/mcrypt.ciphers.

Basic Usage

Create an instance

To use the Encryption class, obtain an instance of the Encrypt class by calling it’s instance method, optionally passing the desired configuration group. If you do not pass a config group to the instance method, the default group will be used.

$encrypt = Encrypt::instance('tripledes');

Encoding Data

Next, encode some data using the encode method:

$encrypt = Encrypt::instance('tripledes');
$encrypted_data = $encrypt->encode('Data to Encode');
// $encrypted_data now contains pCD5Z6oVdb9hbLxxV+FgGrhwVzZuhQoH

[!!] Raw encrypted strings usually won’t print in a browser, and may not store properly in a VARCHAR or TEXT field. For this reason, Kohana’s Encrypt class automatically calls base64_encode on encode, and base64_decode on decode, to prevent this problem.

[!!] One word of caution. The length of the encoded data expands quite a bit, so be sure your database column is long enough to store the encrypted data. If even one character is truncated, the data will not be recoverable.

Decoding Data

To decode some data, load it from the place you stored it (most likely your database) then pass it to the decode method:

$encrypt = Encrypt::instance('tripledes');
$decoded_string = $encrypt->decode($encrypted_data);
echo $decoded_string;
// prints 'Data to Encode'

You can’t know in advance what the encoded string will be, and it’s not reproducible, either. That is, you can encode the same value over and over, but you’ll always obtain a different encoded version, even without changing your key, cipher and mode. This is because Kohana adds some random entropy before encoding it with your value. This ensures an attacker cannot easily discover your key and cipher, even given a collection of encoded values.

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