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File: docs/01-Protocol-Versions/
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Class: PHP PASeTo
Encrypt and decrypt data with PaSeTO protocol
Author: By
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Date: 1 year ago
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Common Implementation Details

Base64 Encoding

Nearly every component in a Paseto (except for the version, purpose, and the . separators) will be encoded using Base64url, without = padding.

This is implemented in our constant-time RFC 4648 library as Base64UrlSafe::encodeUnpadded().

Authentication Padding

Multi-part messages (e.g. header, content, footer) are encoded in a specific manner before being passed to the respective cryptographic function.

In local mode, this encoding is applied to the additional associated data (AAD). In remote mode, which is not encrypted, this encoding is applied to the components of the token, with respect to the protocol version being followed.

The reference implementation resides in Util::preAuthEncode(). We will refer to it as PAE in this document (short for Pre-Authentication Encoding).

PAE Definition

PAE() accepts an array of strings (usually denoted as array<int, string> in docblocks to signify integer keys, but in other languages, string[] is preferred; in the PHP community they're synonymous).

LE64() encodes a 64-bit unsigned integer into a little-endian binary string. The most significant bit MUST be cleared for interoperability with programming languages that do not have unsigned integer support.

The first 8 bytes of the output will be the number of pieces. Typically this is a small number (3 or 4). This is calculated by LE64() of the size of the array.

Next, for each piece provided, the length of the piece is encoded via LE64() and prefixed to each piece before concatenation.

An implementation may look like this:

function LE64(n) {
    var str = '';
    for (var i = 0; i < 8; ++i) {
        if (i === 7) {
            // Clear the MSB for interoperability
            n &= 127;
        str += String.fromCharCode(n & 255);
        n = n >>> 8;
    return str;
function PAE(pieces) {
    if (!Array.isArray(pieces)) {
        throw TypeError('Expected an array.');
    var count = pieces.length;
    var output = LE64(count);
    for (var i = 0; i < count; i++) {
        output += LE64(pieces[i].length);
        output += pieces[i];
    return output;

As a consequence:

  • `PAE([])` will always return `"\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00"`
  • `PAE([''])` will always return `"\x01\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00"`
  • `PAE(['test'])` will always return `"\x01\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x04\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00test"`
  • `PAE('test')` will throw a `TypeError`

As a result, you cannot create a collision with only a partially controlled plaintext. Either the number of pieces will differ, or the length of one of the fields (which is prefixed to the input you can provide) will differ, or both.

Due to the length being expressed as an unsigned 64-bit integer, it remains infeasible to generate/transmit enough data to create an integer overflow.

This is not used to encode data prior to decryption, and no decoding function is provided or specified. This merely exists to prevent canonicalization attacks.

For more information send a message to info at phpclasses dot org.