TOTP authenticator PHP code [Two factor authentication] – Simple Tutorial

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Here’s a simple implementation of a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) generator in PHP

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What is TOTP

TOTP is a time-based variant of the One-Time Password (OTP) authentication system. It generates a unique code that is valid only for a limited period of time (e.g., 30 seconds). This code is used to authenticate a user in the same way a password would be used.

How TOTP works

The TOTP algorithm requires two things: a secret key shared between the server and the client, and the current time.

  1. The client and the server agree on a secret key and a time step (e.g., 30 seconds).
  2. The client calculates the current time step by dividing the current time by the time step and rounding down to the nearest whole number.
  3. The client generates a HMAC hash of the secret key and the current time step using the SHA-1 algorithm.
  4. The client takes the last n characters of the hash, where n is the desired length of the TOTP code (e.g., 6 characters).
  5. The server performs the same calculation using the secret key and the current time step and compares the result with the code received from the client.
  6. If the code received from the client matches the code generated by the server, the user is authenticated.

TOTP in PHP Numeric Code – Sample Example 1

<?php

// Use the parameters from the latest version of the TOTP RFC (6238)
$timeStep = 30;
$codeLength = 6;
$secret = 'JBSWY3DPEHPK3PXP';

// Compute the current time step
$timestamp = floor(time() / $timeStep);

// Compute the HMAC hash of the secret and the current timestamp
$hash = hash_hmac('sha1', pack('N*', 0) . pack('N*', $timestamp), $secret);

// Generate the TOTP code by taking the last $codeLength characters of the hash
$code = substr($hash, -$codeLength);

// Convert the TOTP code to a number
$numericCode = 0;
for ($i = 0; $i < $codeLength; $i++) {
$numericCode = $numericCode * 10 + hexdec($code[$i]);
}

// Output the numeric TOTP
echo $numericCode . PHP_EOL;

 

TOTP in PHP Alphanumeric Code – Sample Example 2

<?php

// Use the parameters from the latest version of the TOTP RFC (6238)
$timeStep = 30;
$codeLength = 6;
$secret = 'JBSWY3DPEHPK3PXP';

// Compute the current time step
$timestamp = floor(time() / $timeStep);

// Compute the HMAC hash of the secret and the current timestamp
$hash = hash_hmac('sha1', pack('N*', 0) . pack('N*', $timestamp), $secret);

// Generate the TOTP code by taking the last $codeLength characters of the hash
$code = substr($hash, -$codeLength);

// Output the TOTP
echo $code;

You can simply run the PHP script in a web server or in a command-line interface (CLI) and it will output the TOTP code.

For example, if you save the script to a file called totp.php, you can run it in the CLI with the following command:

$ php totp.php

This script generates a TOTP code that is $codeLength characters long (in this case, 6 characters). You can use this code for authentication purposes.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, you learned how TOTP works and how to generate a TOTP code in PHP. You can use this code for authentication purposes in a variety of applications, including two-factor authentication.

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