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Thread: Handling Secure Data

  1. #1

    Thread Starter
    Super Moderator dday9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    South Louisiana

    Handling Secure Data

    A little bit of background, I'm in the insurance industry which is heavily regulated. I have had several agents approach me about building them CRM websites, which I have done in the past without including sensitive data such as driver's license numbers, social security numbers, etc. and so the only thing that I've had to use in the past is PHP's built in encryption for passwords (more specifically the password_hash function).

    Now I've been approached to build a CRM website by a insurance company, not an individual agent, but the company, for all of their agents. I still won't need to store driver's license numbers or social security numbers, however they do want the customer's basic information such as their phone numbers and addresses to be secure. Since the fields should ultimately be decrypted, I figured that I would use MySQL's AES_DECRYPT and AES_ENCRYPT functions. But since, I've never had to deal with encrypting data before, I wanted to ask here how this would work.

    What I don't understand is how to create and use the secure key for the respective AES functions. If I'm hard-coding the key in the PHP file, it seems like my entire encryption would be at risk if someone got their hands on the individual PHP file by simply finding the SQL query and getting the key from the value passed in the MySQL parameter.

  2. #2
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    May 2002

    Re: Handling Secure Data

    Get a site certificate, run everything over HTTPS. Don't put the key in the PHP file, but in the database, the sprocs can then locate it and use it as needed and use it. Everything stays on the server.

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