Questions tagged [passwords]

Passwords are secret keys which human beings can memorize.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
102
votes
5answers
84k views

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
votes
4answers
61k views

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, ...
50
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
42
votes
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 ...
27
votes
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 ...
21
votes
3answers
715 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 ...
21
votes
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 ...
20
votes
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 [...
19
votes
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 =...
19
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
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?
15
votes
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. ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Calculating entropy within xkcd 936: Password Strength

When I calculate entropy for the xkcd Password Strength (comic 936) I don't get nearly the amount of entropy stated in the comic. So why doesn't the the first password "Tr0ub4dor&3" have an ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How is the quality of a password calculated and what does it mean?

While using Keepass and using it to generate random passwords, I always have noticed the "quality" section but truthfully have never known what it actually means. So my questions are; How much ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Is using a broken SHA-1 for password hashing secure?

Recently the hashing collision issue of SHA-1 was discovered. Identical hash values for 2 separate PDF files were generated. Does that make SHA-1 any unsafe for using it only for password hashing?. ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Password entropy much lower than entropy of encryption keys. Why is this acceptable?

When talking symmetric encryption, a 56 bit key is known to be so weak. If you use it for your encryption, you are considered a goner. When talking passwords however, the standard these days is ...
14
votes
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Password hash that can be upgraded without plaintext password

Most password hashes have a cost parameter that indicates how long the algorithm should take. Is there an algorithm where you can increase that cost for a particular hash, without access to the ...
13
votes
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
votes
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 ...
12
votes
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

How many KDF rounds for an SSH key?

What is the best practice on choosing how many key derivation function (KDF) rounds/iterations when generating an SSH key pair with ssh-keygen? Am I correct in saying that it is unnecessary if the ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How should I store passwords that need to be available in plain text?

Suppose I need to store login information for a third-party website for a few users, how would I go about doing it? Since I am logging into a third party website, I need the password in plain-text, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

How secure is a pronounceable password in terms of entropy?

There are some strong studies which support the use of pronounceable passwords and multiple tools which provide generation of such passwords. According to this question the entropy of a password ...
10
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
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 ...
10
votes
1answer
11k views

How do I store encrypted files on a web server and decrypt them locally?

I want to store files (images) on a public webserver and let users see them if they know a password. The server shouldn't have the unecrypted files and the server can only serve files, not perform ...
10
votes
4answers
5k views

Why bcrypt is one-way while Blowfish is reversible?

While bcrypt is often regarded as an irreversible hashing function, it's based on the reversible Blowfish cipher. I'm just curious about how does this work. Here's ...
9
votes
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Encrypting user data with their password?

I had an idea once that all of the user data (including the username) could be encrypted with the user's password. Obviously, most sites would store different data, so using the same password and ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Hashing a password before using for online accounts

I don't actually know what I'm talking about, so apologies if I get anything wrong. At the moment I have a password naming system for most of my online accounts that looks something like this: ...
9
votes
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
votes
5answers
2k views

Encrypt a file once with 50 characters password or twice with 25 characters?

What better Encrypt the file once with 50 characters password or encrypt it twice each time with 25 characters password.
8
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I improve a password generation scheme based on a shared secret and URL?

I currently use the following method to generate a different password on every website I have to login: password = SHA1 ( mainPassword . domainName . number ) ...
8
votes
4answers
459 views

Using hashes as passwords

I have thought of a system for generating passwords which works as follows: Take the following items: A password, such as williamwallace. A secret 1000 digit ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Practical Uses for Timing Attacks on Hash Comparisons (e.g. MD5)?

Consider the following code snippet: ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

How does Scrypt use Salsa?

Bcrypt uses Blowfish to encrypt a derived key from the passphrase, and Blowfish is a cryptographic algorithm, but here it is said that: Note that Salsa20/8 Core is not a cryptographic hash ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
371 views

Why don't we use MACs to store passwords?

These days, the best practice for storing passwords is to use a scheme like scrypt or bcrypt. The goal of these schemes is to make dictionary attack inefficient for an attacker but it also slows down ...
8
votes
4answers
523 views

Could a very long password theoretically eliminate the need for a slow hash?

Before I provide details, I want to clarify that I am not looking to implement this practically, but I'm only asking to get a better understanding. The way I currently understand it, we use slow ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Using an MD5 hash as a password

Suppose Alice is using a password prompt that only accepts up to 32 characters for any particular password. Memorization of long strings of random characters is not one of Alice's strengths, so she ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
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 ...
8
votes
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
votes
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 ...
8
votes
4answers
345 views

Encrypting or HMACing password digests

Assuming I'm using bcrypt to digest passwords, is any additional security gained by either encrypting or HMACing the resulting digests? By requiring a key to compare password hashes, I would expect ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Initialize a PRNG with a password

Let's assume that we have a secure PRNG. Is it "safe" to initialize it with password, or seed based on a password like SHA256(password)? If yes, is it "safe" to generate an RSA or DSA key from it? ...
7
votes
4answers
907 views

How is it possible to parallelize a hashing function to crack an iteratively hashed password?

Suppose I have an algorithm that relies on multiple iterations of a hash function like SHA1 to slow down an attacker trying to bruteforce a hash. ...
7
votes
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 ...