Questions tagged [passwords]

Passwords are secret keys which human beings can memorize.

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52
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2answers
15k views

What makes a hash function good for password hashing?

Using a cryptographic hash to store e.g. passwords in a database is considered good practice (as opposed to storing them plaintext), but is subject to attacks on said cryptographic hash, assuming the ...
43
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5answers
8k views

Is there a secure cryptosystem that can be performed mentally?

I, myself, do not plan on getting into a situation where I would be unable to use a computer in order to communicate securely. However, I can think of many practical situations in which mental ...
109
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5answers
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Can you help me understand what a cryptographic “salt” is?

I'm a beginner to cryptography and looking to understand in very simple terms what a cryptographic "salt" is, when I might need to use it, and why I should or should not use it. Can anyone offer me a ...
98
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4answers
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How should I calculate the entropy of a password?

If part of the password is a whole regular English word, does the entropy of that part depend on the number of English words in existence, the number of English words known by the choosing algorithm, ...
12
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3answers
6k views

Is there a way to make RC4 (ARCFOUR) secure, or is it completely broken?

I need a method to authenticate a process with another in order to establish interprocess communication between them, to prevent malicious processes from trying to hook onto the system. Currently I ...
21
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3answers
2k views

Is using slow password hashing on the client side easier attackable than on the server side?

As we know, one should use a slow password hashing algorithm instead of a fast one for storing passwords, to hinder brute force attacks when the database is compromised. The problem with this is that ...
19
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3answers
9k views

What is the recommended number of iterations for Argon2?

I've recompiled my operating system ("LionBSD" based on FreeBSD) to use Argon2i as the default password hashing algorithm in crypt/libcrypt. I'm wondering what the recommended number of iterations ...
19
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6answers
2k views

Why does PBKDF2 xor the iterations of the hash function together?

The definition of PBKDF2 states that I obtain a derived key (1) by calling a pseudorandom function a bunch of times recursively: $U_1 = PRF(password, salt)$ $U_2 = PRF(password, U_1)$ … $U_n =...
8
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1answer
2k views

Recommended way of adding a pepper/secret key to password before hashing?

There have been several questions regarding password hashing here and on Security.SE. A "pepper" is sometimes mentioned – an application-specific secret key. The canonical answer on password hashing ...
15
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5answers
4k views

How can rainbow tables be used for a dictionary attack?

I'm putting together a password policy for my company. I very much want to avoid requiring complex passwords, and would much rather require length. The maximum length I can enforce is 14 characters. ...
22
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3answers
730 views

What differentiates a password hash from a cryptographic hash besides speed?

I understand that password hashes like bcrypt have the principal property of taking a long time to run, but I'm wondering what if anything about password hashes make them superior to merely running a ...
6
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3answers
318 views

Bounding security of password authentication given entropy

An adversary Craig tries to log-in as Alice on a system that will only accept the right password, leaks (only) if an attempt succeeds, and allows many attempts. Alice's password choice is modeled as ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Do I have to have a different salt for each password?

Should I use a different salt for each password? In my system, there are no user names, only passwords. When a user logins in, he types in one or more passwords and the server compares the results ...
13
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2answers
3k views

Use of salt to hash a password

In a few implementations of hashed passwords, I have seen that the length of the random salt is chosen to be, say, 10 or "some constant". Is there any specific reason why the salt is chosen to have a ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Webapp password storage: Salting a hash vs multiple hashes?

For security's sake, of course it's blasphemous to store passwords in plain-text; using a hash function and then doing a re-hash and comparison is considered much better. But, if bad guys steal your ...
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2answers
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Deriving HMAC key and cipher key from passphrase? [duplicate]

I'm encrypting a file with AES-256 in CBC mode. I needed to add an HMAC for authentication and validation of the file contents and passphrase, so I used a SHA-256 HMAC over chunks of my file ...
27
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3answers
3k views

Is this password migration strategy secure?

I want to upgrade the security of some existing databases of users' authentication tokens strictly for the purpose of making sure that if the database is stolen, attackers will not be able to guess ...
17
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2answers
2k views

Is bcrypt better than GnuPG's iterated+salted hashing method?

GnuPG has slow hash built-in in form of iterated+salted S2K. Does it have disadvantages in comparison with bcrypt or scrypt? Is GnuPG's slow hash method easily automated in GPUs?
17
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3answers
5k views

Should you change salt when changing password?

Assume a password storage scheme using a computationally-expensive hash algorithm and a CSPRNG salt. User ID, salt, and hash value are stored in a table; if the table is compromised, all three ...
8
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1answer
2k views

Does salt size affect password hash security?

I use PBKDF2-SHA512 with an iteration count of 128,000 to hash my passwords. I use a CSPRNG to generate a salt per password. However, I am unsure about the ideal size of the salt. I have read a lot of ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Why does SRP-6a use k = H(N, g) instead of the k = 3 in SRP-6?

I've been reading up on the Secure Remote Pasword protocol (SRP). There are a couple different versions of the protocol (the original published version being designated SRP-3, with two subsequent ...
6
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1answer
2k views

How to configure Argon2d for commodity hardware?

You may already have heard it: KeePass v2.35 has support for a new database format (KDBX4) which allows for the use of Argon2 (more precisely: Argon2d) as the password-based key derivation function (...
2
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1answer
5k views

How to calculate the entropy of passwords? [duplicate]

Here is a cartoon about password entropy. http://xkcd.com/936/ I dont quite understand how the entropy is calculated in the cartoon assuming they are calculate correctly. But in general, I dont have ...
0
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2answers
126 views

Can an attacker exploit the nonuniform distribution of letters in a diceware password to improve a brute force search?

I use some diceware pass phrases in some places but I have one question that I can't find the answer to. Let's say I roll the dice and get $N$ words with a total of $M$ letters and that I don't put ...
6
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1answer
2k views

What happens to the entropy of a password when you hash it?

For example, if the entropy of a password is 30 bits, what is the entropy of the password when you hash it with MD5?
5
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2answers
980 views

How did LinkedIn “salt” all their passwords?

First, just to make sure I understand "salting" correctly: You randomly generate a string to append to the password before hashing it, so as to increase its length and make precomputed tables much ...
5
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1answer
344 views

Why are there $ signs in my passwd file?

I am trying to get access to my eReader and I managed to get the passwd file. ...
4
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1answer
330 views

Which version(s) of SRP are in ISO/IEC 11770-4:2006?

I am on the impression that SRP emerges as the least uncommon and best analyzed protocol for authentication and key agreement based on a short password. This states that SRP is part of IEC 11770-4, ...
20
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8answers
15k views

Password cracking: What if attacker is lucky? [closed]

We have always measured password or private key strength by the amount of entropy it contains, but what if the attacker who cracks it is lucky. Consider the following simple scenario, we have 1 bit [...
14
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3answers
7k views

Do I have to recompute all hashes if I change the work factor in bcrypt?

The well-known article about why we should use bcrypt for hashing passwords mentions the work factor - some parameter to the algorithm that determines how long one hashing should be in terms of number ...
8
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1answer
16k views

Encryption algorithm used in WPA/WPA2

I want to know how EXACTLY the WPA password gets encrypted I have been searching through and I was able to catch: The actual password is converted to some hash Salting is applied to the hash The ...
10
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4answers
2k views

What is the best-practice for encrypting small files?

I would like to know how to store a sensitive file; a credential of sorts. I want to password-protect it, obviously. It would be appropriate - in my application - to prompt the user for the password ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Hash decrypts key, key decrypts cipher… why?

I noticed recently that a couple of pieces of encryption software (TrueCrypt being one of them) don't directly use a hash of the password as the key for the block cipher. Instead, they generate a ...
2
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1answer
427 views

Diffie-Hellman based password challenge response scheme

A very commonly used (examples: HTTP digest auth/CHAP/Kerberos) authentication scheme is something that looks like: Setup. Client and server both know a password $p$. Authentication. Server sends ...
10
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1answer
1k views

What are the security implications of multiple hashing?

There are plenty of questions on this site about hashing passwords. However, none of them quite cover this topic. One of those links covers using multiple different hash algorithms; one covers general ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Cryptocurrency serving as hash breaking?

There are many people mining for Bitcoin right this second.[Citation needed] Bitcoin's proof-of-work mining system is based on a hash function (SHA-256, I believe), and there are ASICs built ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Can I use a key-derivation-function as the hash function H in SRP?

In the Secure Remote Password Protocol, the verifier must be stored on the server. In the case of a server compromise, an attacker could obtain these verifiers. If nobody reused passwords, this ...
7
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2answers
1k views

What are the pros and cons of deterministic site-specific password generation from a master pass?

I've been reading up a bit on deterministic password generators. All the ones I can find basically do something like this: Pick a master username and a master passphrase. The username could be your ...
7
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1answer
262 views

How to generate a key using any $m$ passwords out of total $n$?

My application requires an AES-256 key K for some secure operation. In order to avoid saving this key in application, I have implemented following scheme: There ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Do I need to use a CSPRNG when creating salts for user accounts?

I'm not sure about the need of using CSPRNG to create salts for each user account. I found “Cryptographically Secure Pseudo-Random Number Generator in Qt/C++ (Cross platform)” (at StackOverflow) with ...
5
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2answers
2k views

Public key crypto instead of hashing passwords in a database

Suppose I want to keep a client's password database secure (not in plaintext), while still having access to the plaintext password. Now I generates a public/private keypair. Then I send the public ...
4
votes
1answer
562 views

How can one share information using the 'host-proof' paradigm?

I am attempting to make a web-based secure password management and sharing utility, both as an academic exercise and to fully understand and feel safe about using it. I really like the idea of a "...
9
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2answers
6k views

Can a salt for a password hash be public?

For my understanding salts in password hashes are used to prevent the precomputation of $plaintext \to hashvalues$ (rainbow tables). I know from different threads, it is not necessary to keep the ...
4
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2answers
337 views

Using PBKDF2 twice with different argument order

I'm pretty sure this is a really bad approach (in theory), but one of my clients is doing this and I was wondering… How bad it is to perform pbkdf-2 in this way (with 2000 iterations)? ...
4
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1answer
1k views

gpg --gen-random quality level: is higher “better”?

The GNU Privacy Guard manual pages have this to say about using the gpg --gen-random 0|1|2 count command: Emit count random bytes of the given quality level 0, 1 ...
3
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1answer
190 views

Is there a practical upper limit for password rehashing?

When using PBKDF2, is there a practical upper limit to the iteration count above which we lose security? Note: If you answer “No”, that's fine. But if you answer: “There can't be an upper limit“, ...
3
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3answers
510 views

If Bob steals Alice's private key, how exactly would he read her encrypted documents?

So Bob grabs Alice's secret key when she isn't looking and her encrypted files, doesn't he need to know her passphrase to read her files? What I am reading is that no he does not need it but as far ...
3
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1answer
9k views

What's the safest TrueCrypt algorithm and hash?

I have an encrypted file container inside my NTFS pendrive. The root folder Write permission is blocked for everyone. A folder inside it has all permissions unblocked. The dummy file of TrueCrypt is ...
2
votes
2answers
88 views

How may passwords are available to use in this scenario?

Password string consisting of one or more of the 26 characters A..Z and can be of any length from $1$ to $8$ characters. How may password available to use this scenario? As my calculation, it should ...
2
votes
2answers
136 views

PBKDF and Entropy

We all regularly use password based, key derivation functions, however something that strikes me as counter intuitive is how PBKDF can somehow "stretch" the entropy of a supplied password to generate ...