Salt is unique (usually random) data passed into a hash function for password storage to avoid the possible usage of rainbow tables or similar attacks. Salt will not help against dictionary or brute force attacks, as the salt is usually stored together with the hash.

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How is HMAC(message,key) more secure than Hash(key1+message+key2)

I understand how for hash functions which are vulnerable to length extension attacks (such as SHA1 and SHA2) it is safer to use a HMAC construction. What I don't understand is, how or why is ...