Many developers consider the Libsodium library the go-to source of application-layer cryptography. It is thought to offer a portable, cross-compilable, easy-to-use library that can be applied to most standard crypto functions such as encryption, decryption, signatures and password hashing.

Now, the PHP core will be bound with the Libsodium cryptography libraries as of version 7.2. This merger is scheduled to emerge toward the end of this year, Bleeping Computer reported.

SHP Problems

The impetus for the change involved a new kind of environment that PHP — which powers at least 82 percent of websites, according to Bleeping Computer — encountered when running the WordPress content management system (CMS). Researchers have found numerous WordPress vulnerabilities of late, and the solution usually includes another PHP extension that functions as a CMS security-oriented extension.

However, problems can arise when using a shared host provider (SHP) rather than kind that provides root access in the cloud by default. SHPs do not want all sorts of PHP extensions roaming throughout their systems because if PHP breaks breaks something, they have to clean up the resulting mess. These limitations could lead to unsecured WordPress environments.

Libsodium Boosts Security

Scott Arciszewski, chief development officer at Paragon Initiative Enterprises, told Bleeping Computer that having all the raw, cryptographical goodness of Libsodium under the hood of PHP will have many salutary effects.

For example, he believes that Libsodium can eliminate the need for the number of PHP extensions otherwise required for a WordPress installation. The basic and secure cryptography, he reasoned, would be supported by default, and WordPress developers will be attracted to the newer and more secure functions.

Arciszewski further explained his reasoning on the Paragon Initiative blog. There he added that PHP’s commitment to cryptography is the first of its kind, and any future developments or similar relationships should only enhance security.

It remains to be seen whether adding Libsodium to PHP will increase the use of cryptography tools and result in more concrete security. However, it’s a step in the right direction for sure.

More from

Increasingly Sophisticated Cyberattacks Target Healthcare

4 min read - It’s rare to see 100% agreement on a survey. But Porter Research found consensus from business leaders across the provider, payer and pharmaceutical/life sciences industries. Every single person agreed that “growing hacker sophistication” is the primary driver behind the increase in ransomware attacks. In response to the findings, the American Hospital Association told Porter Research, “Not only are cyber criminals more organized than they were in the past, but they are often more skilled and sophisticated.” Although not unanimous, the…

4 min read

Ransomware Renaissance 2023: The Definitive Guide to Stay Safer

2 min read - Ransomware is experiencing a renaissance in 2023, with some cybersecurity firms reporting over 400 attacks in the month of March alone. And it shouldn’t be a surprise: the 2023 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found backdoor deployments — malware providing remote access — as the top attacker action in 2022, and aptly predicted 2022’s backdoor failures would become 2023’s ransomware crisis. Compounding the problem is the industrialization of the cybercrime ecosystem, enabling adversaries to complete more attacks, faster. Over the last…

2 min read

Machine Learning Applications in the Cybersecurity Space

3 min read - Machine learning is one of the hottest areas in data science. This subset of artificial intelligence allows a system to learn from data and make accurate predictions, identify anomalies or make recommendations using different techniques. Machine learning techniques extract information from vast amounts of data and transform it into valuable business knowledge. While most industries use these techniques, they are especially prominent in the finance, marketing, healthcare, retail and cybersecurity sectors. Machine learning can also address new cyber threats. There…

3 min read

HHS Releases Hospital Cyber Resiliency Landscape Analysis

4 min read - On April 17, 2023, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 405(d) Program announced the release of its Hospital Cyber Resiliency Initiative Landscape Analysis. This landmark analysis reports on domestic hospitals’ current state of cybersecurity preparedness. The scope of the HHS study was limited to activities that protect access to patient care and safety and reduce the negative impact of cyber threats on clinical operations. Breaches of sensitive data were considered only if the breach had a direct…

4 min read