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My question is: does it add any security to add a random salt to the message you are validating with HMAC? This depends on what the HMAC is used for. If you use a key to sign more than one secret message, a salt will prevent an attacker from knowing whether two of them are equal. (Or brute forcing a message if the key is revealed...) It is more common ...


There are two ways to attack encryption that uses a derived key: You can attack the encryption algorithm. In the case of correctly used* 128-bit AES, that essentially amounts to a brute force attack on the 128-bit keyspace. This would succeed after on average $2^{127}$ tries (if it were practical). If you knew that two files had used the same password ...

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