Randomness in PHP – Do You Feel Lucky?
This article analyzes problems related to random number generation used for cryptography purposes. PHP 5 does not provide an easy mechanism for generating cryptographically strong random numbers, while PHP 7 solves this by introducing a couple of CSPRNG functions.
What is a CSPRNG?
Quoting Wikipedia, a Cryptographically Secure Pseudorandom Number Generator (CSPRNG) is a pseudo-random number generator (PRNG) with properties that make it suitable for use in cryptography.
A CSPRNG could be mainly useful for:
- Key generation (e.g. generation of complicated keys)
- Creating random passwords for new user accounts
- Encryption systems
A central aspect to keeping a high security level is the high quality of randomness.
CSPRNG in PHP 7
PHP 7 introduces two new functions that can be used for CSPRNG:
random_bytes function returns a
string and accepts as input an
int representing the length in bytes to be returned.
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