Proposed Secure Password Hashing API in PHP 5.5

PHP 5.5 will be gaining a simpler and more newbie-friendly way to securely hash passwords. As those who are active in the PHP community are all to well aware of, it is quite a trial to educate everyone on properly securing passwords in their applications. Even large web companies are routinely outed for their lax measures. Sometimes they’re stored in plain text and sometimes they might as well be, like when weak MD5 or SHA1 hashes are used. Remember the big scandal when Gawker Media’s database of user passwords was leaked, and the weak hashes were solved within days? Or more recently, when it was discovered that Pandora not only stored your password in cleartext, but transmitted it that way as well? It seems that at least two well-known websites have a similar “facepalm” moment every year.

The PHP contributors want to help combat this problem—at least among companies using PHP, obviously the issue is by no means limited to PHP developers—with the new API. A couple of simple functions that even the most novice of developers can use will automatically take care of the hashing using bcrypt with a reasonable work factor.

The proposed syntax is something like this:

//hashing a new password
$hash = password_hash($password_entered);

//Checking a password
if (password_verify($password_entered, $hash_from_database)) {
    //password is valid if password_verify() returns true

For compatibility with versions of PHP prior to 5.5, you can even download a PHP implementation that will automatically be disabled in a PHP 5.5 environment.

The new Secure Password Hashing API in PHP 5.5 [GitHub]