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So I wish to encrypt a string using AES-256 and want to provide the user to specify the password for unlocking the string. I plan to use sha-256 to hash to users entered password and use this as the key. Is this secure? and is their a better way of doing this?

Edit: it would be nice if people left a comment about why they down-voted it.

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    $\begingroup$ No it is not secure. Yes there are better ways. Look at Argon and SCrypt. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ @ThomasM.DuBuisson Thank you I didn't know about this I'm new to cryptography thanks $\endgroup$
    – Joss Bird
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ThomasM.DuBuisson would you please mind and convert your comment to a (short) answer with relevant links perhaps? $\endgroup$
    – SEJPM
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ related crypto.stackexchange.com/questions/22678/… $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ @RichieFrame quite different ngl $\endgroup$
    – Joss Bird
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 23:22

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Using a key derived from a password hash means someone could brute force this using either a known list of passwords or dictionary.

Since SHA-256 is quite fast, it's very easy to do with a moderate amount of computational power.

To better protect the key from such an attack, it is suggested to use a password derived from a key derivation function.

Some examples of these include: PBKDF2, scrypt and argon2.

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