Security Utility

class Cake\Utility\Security

The security library handles basic security measures such as providing methods for hashing and encrypting data.

Encrypting and Decrypting Data

static Cake\Utility\Security::encrypt($text, $key, $hmacSalt = null)
static Cake\Utility\Security::decrypt($cipher, $key, $hmacSalt = null)

Encrypt $text using AES-256. The $key should be a value with a lots of variance in the data much like a good password. The returned result will be the encrypted value with an HMAC checksum.

This method will use either openssl or mcrypt based on what is available on your system. Data encrypted in one implementation is portable to the other.


The mcrypt extension has been deprecated in PHP7.1

This method should never be used to store passwords. Instead you should use the one way hashing methods provided by hash(). An example use would be:

// Assuming key is stored somewhere it can be re-used for
// decryption later.
$key = 'wt1U5MACWJFTXGenFoZoiLwQGrLgdbHA';
$result = Security::encrypt($value, $key);

If you do not supply an HMAC salt, the Security.salt value will be used. Encrypted values can be decrypted using Cake\Utility\Security::decrypt().

Decrypt a previously encrypted value. The $key and $hmacSalt parameters must match the values used to encrypt or decryption will fail. An example use would be:

// Assuming the key is stored somewhere it can be re-used for
// Decryption later.
$key = 'wt1U5MACWJFTXGenFoZoiLwQGrLgdbHA';

$cipher = $user->secrets;
$result = Security::decrypt($cipher, $key);

If the value cannot be decrypted due to changes in the key or HMAC salt false will be returned.

Choosing a Specific Crypto Implementation

If you are upgrading an application from CakePHP 2.x, data encrypted in 2.x is not compatible with openssl. This is because the encrypted data is not fully AES compliant. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of re-encrypting your data, you can force CakePHP to use mcrypt using the engine() method:

// In config/bootstrap.php
use Cake\Utility\Crypto\Mcrypt;

Security::engine(new Mcrypt());

The above will allow you to seamlessly read data from older versions of CakePHP, and encrypt new data to be compatible with OpenSSL.

Hashing Data

static Cake\Utility\Security::hash($string, $type = NULL, $salt = false)

Create a hash from string using given method. Fallback on next available method. If $salt is set to true, the application’s salt value will be used:

// Using the application's salt value
$sha1 = Security::hash('CakePHP Framework', 'sha1', true);

// Using a custom salt value
$sha1 = Security::hash('CakePHP Framework', 'sha1', 'my-salt');

// Using the default hash algorithm
$hash = Security::hash('CakePHP Framework');

The hash() method supports the following hashing strategies:

  • md5

  • sha1

  • sha256

And any other hash algorithmn that PHP’s hash() function supports.


You should not be using hash() for passwords in new applications. Instead you should use the DefaultPasswordHasher class which uses bcrypt by default.

Getting Secure Random Data

static Cake\Utility\Security::randomBytes($length)

Get $length number of bytes from a secure random source. This function draws data from one of the following sources:

  • PHP’s random_bytes function.

  • openssl_random_pseudo_bytes from the SSL extension.

If neither source is available a warning will be emitted and an unsafe value will be used for backwards compatibility reasons.

New in version 3.2.3: The randomBytes method was added.

static Cake\Utility\Security::randomString($length)

Get a random string $length long from a secure random source. This method draws from the same random source as randomBytes() and will encode the data as a hexadecimal string.

New in version 3.6.0: The randomString method was added.