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There are numerous algorithms listed in the PHP documentation:

http://php.net/manual/en/mcrypt.ciphers.php

How strong is each one and what criteria to use when picking one?

Also the mcrypt_encrypt() function requires mode to be passed. From their docs:

One of the MCRYPT_MODE_modename constants, or one of the following strings: "ecb", "cbc", "cfb", "ofb", "nofb" or "stream".

Again, what criteria to use on choosing a mode?

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You generally don't want to encrypt passwords as that opens the door to them being stolen. Instead you want to hash them, a one-way operation is mathematically impossible (or at least very hard) to reverse. This means that stealing password hashes will never lead to stealing passwords.

PHP has a great set of functions for this: password_hash and password_verify. Just use them with the default values and you'll get state of the art technology automatically. See this reference for background.

  • Generally yes. In this scenario however I need two way encryption. – Alph.Dev Apr 23 '15 at 14:38

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