Encrypting Files

Laminas\Crypt\FileCipher implements file encryption and decryption using a symmetric cipher in CBC mode with the encrypt-then-authenticate approach, using HMAC to provide authentication (the same solution used by Laminas\Crypt\BlockCipher component).

Encrypting and decrypting a file is not an easy task, especially with large files. For instance, in CBC mode you must be sure to handle the IV correctly for each block. For large files, that means that you need to use a buffer and use the last block of the buffer as the new IV for the next encryption step.

FileCipher uses a Laminas\Crypt\Symmetric cipher to encrypt and decrypt a file. The default cipher is Laminas\Crypt\Symmetric\Openssl.

The usage of this component is very simple; create an instance of FileCipher, specify the key, and you are ready to encrypt/decrypt any file:

use Laminas\Crypt\FileCipher;

$fileCipher = new FileCipher;
$fileCipher->setKey('encryption key');

// encryption
if ($fileCipher->encrypt('path/to/file_to_encrypt', 'path/to/output')) {
    echo "The file has been encrypted successfully\n";

// decryption
if ($fileCipher->decrypt('path/to/file_to_decrypt', 'path/to/output')) {
    echo "The file has been decrypted successfully\n";

By default, FileCipher uses the AES encryption algorithm (with a 256-bit key) and the SHA-256 hash algorithm to authenticate the data using the HMAC function. This component uses the PBKDF2 key derivation algorithm to generate the encryption key and the authentication key, for the HMAC, based on the key specified using the method setKey().

If you want to change the encryption algorithm, you can use the setCipherAlgorithm() function. For instance, you could specify the Blowfish encryption algorithm using setCipherAlgorithm('blowfish'). You can retrieve the list of all supported encryption algorithms in your environment using the function getCipherSupportedAlgorithms().

If you need to customize the cipher algorithm — for instance, to change the Padding mode — you can inject your Mcrypt object in the FileCipher using the setCipher() method. The only parameter of the cipher that you cannot change is the cipher mode, which is hard-coded to CBC.

Output Format

The output of the encryption file is in binary format. We used this format to reduce impact on output size. If you encrypt a file using the FileCipher component, you will notice that the output file size is almost the same as the input size, with a few additional bytes to store the HMAC and the IV vector. The format of the output is the concatenation of the HMAC, the IV, and the encrypted file contents.

Found a mistake or want to contribute to the documentation? Edit this page on GitHub!