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162

The reason that salts are used is that people tend to choose the same passwords, and not at all randomly. Many used passwords out there are short real words, to make it easy to remember, but this also enables for an attack. As you may know, passwords are generally not stored in cleartext, but rather hashed. If you are unsure of the purpose of a hash-...


67

The salt is stored in plaintext next to the hash and the same salt is used when checking a password. Its purpose is to slow down attackers who obtained a copy of the database: They must attack each password on its own (they need to try each input for each hash instead of trying each input and comparing the output to all hashes at once). They can't make use ...


18

If the attacker had already begun creating a rainbow table or is engaged in some other attack which requires knowledge of the salt, then a password change with a salt change will require the attacker to start from scratch. Always assume the attacker has before and after copies of the password hash and salt. If the salt is not changed, any work the attacker ...


17

Can you help me understand what a cryptographic “salt” is? In the context of password creation, a "salt" is data (random or otherwise) added to a hash function in order to make the hashed output of a password harder to crack. When might I need to use it? Always. Why should or should I not use it? You should always use a salt value with your hash ...


17

Since this is still open and the issue keeps coming up: TLDR: There are lots of things in OpenSSL that implement standards including AES, but the key derivation part of enc is partly nonstandard First, OpenSSL has several commandline operations it calls commands (although they usually aren't separate programs, as typical commands are on Unix), and a whole ...


16

"In my system, there are no user names, only passwords." This is the real problem. Using the same value for both identification and authorization is usually a bad idea, for several reasons: Two accounts cannot have the same password. An on-line attacker needs only a single query to determine if any password in the system matches their guess; thus, they ...


16

Direct Answers What is the mechanism that creates the salt, juxtaposing it to the hash, and make[s] sure the password will comply to the hash+salt combination? What creates the salt? - A random number generator, used when a user's password is being generated or changed. What juxtaposes that salt beside the hash? - How exactly to store the results of that ...


15

The usual answer is that a salt can be make public; if that was a problem, then the salt would not be called a "salt" but a "key". In some protocols, unauthenticated obtention of the salt is the norm, and is not considered to be a problem. E.g. with SRP, a password-authenticated key exchange, where any salting and hashing must necessarily occur client-side. ...


13

A second reason that a hash is usually present in RSA signature schemes (apart from being able to sign long messages) is to prevent existential forgery attacks. These look like this: Assume we have the public key $n$, $e$. Choose some random garbage $s$ (smaller than $n$), and calculate $m = s^e \mod n$ (i.e. "RSA encryption"). If you used "text book RSA ...


13

Well, the reason we add salt when hashing passwords is not to make a single hashed password stronger (it doesn't, except in a way I'll explain below), it's to fix up some weaknesses that appear when you have a collection of hashed passwords. If the attacker somehow gets a single hashed password, then adding a salt doesn't really slow the attacker down (...


13

First, realize that PBKDF2 is PKCS #5 is RFC 2898, i.e. http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2898.txt It's essentially an algorithm to securely hash a password as many times as you want, with whatever hash you want. OWASP recommends hashing the password at least 64,000 times in 2012, and doubling that every two years, per https://www.owasp.org/index.php/...


13

Assume you have an IND-CCA secure cryptosystem $E$ that runs a password through a slow KDF and implicitly handles salts and random IVs, a human-chosen password $p$, and messages $m_1$ through $m_n$ to encrypt. Is $E_p(m_1+m_2+\cdots+m_n)$ or $E_p(m_1)+E_p(m_2)+\cdots+E_p(m_n)$ better for this? Each invocation of $E$ is slow due to it running a KDF on $p$, ...


12

I'd use HKDF's "expand" step to generate multiple keys from one masterkey. Use PBKDF2 to derive that masterkey from the password and salt. i.e. replace the "extract" step of HKDF with PBKDF2. //Extract MasterKey = PBKDF2(salt, password, iterations) //Expand AES-Key = HMAC(MasterKey, "AES-Key" | 0x01) MAC-Key = HMAC(MasterKey, "MAC-Key" | 0x01) (where | ...


12

The resume of that other answer could be: When you have a password hashed, it's hard (very hard) to find out what was the original password: you have to try all combinations, until you find the hash. That's brute-force. Someone can speed up a bit this process, by pre-computing many passwords: he'll store all those passwords / hashes, and will try to find ...


12

It sounds like you're using a password-based key derivation function that accepts an optional salt input to convert a passphrase into an encryption key, which you then use to encrypt messages with a block cipher mode (or possibly some other type of stream cipher) that takes an IV or a nonce, and you want to know whether it's necessary to provide a salt to ...


10

This is not a limitation of the cryptographic functions, like SHA or PBKDF, since the zero byte isn't processed any differently. Since the purpose of a salt is generally to travel alongside a human password, libraries that handle the password as a zero-terminated string might also handle the salt as such a string. Obviously, a 0x00 in the salt would ...


10

With the message padding scheme of SHA-2/SHA-256 as it stands (add one 1 bit, a minimal number of 0 bits so that the overall padded message will end on a block boundary, then the original message length over some fixed number of bits), I know no attack enabled by allowing a different IV. However, allowing an arbitrary IV renders ineffective one of the two ...


10

I don't see any obvious security problems in your approach. You can look into key derivation functions, that can provide some additional security in case one of the following occurs: Your password leaks Your secret number leaks A weakness is identified in the hash function There is a few usability issues, that would have to be addressed as well: Different ...


9

If the hash function is a random oracle, then the salt can go wherever you wish, it will do its job. On the other hand, there is, arguably, no such thing as a random oracle. On an existing, real, tangible hash function, details on how you input things may or may not trigger slight structural weaknesses in the function, which could impair the role of the ...


9

My understanding of the term 'pepper' is that it more matches your definition 2, in that a pepper is an unknown salt, which makes it a cryptographic secret, but not a key. However, in use it is not as limited by either of your definitions: The pepper can be different (or random) for all users (like a salt). The pepper can be the same for all users (like a ...


9

Answering your question If an attacker have access to a copy of my users database table containing each salt and the related salted password, I can't understand how a CSPRNG would be more secure than a SHA12 hashed UUID. Can someone elaborate? I’m not sure if you only have read the question “Cryptographically Secure Pseudo-Random Number Generator in Qt/C+...


8

This construction has two advantages over a plain hash of param1||param2: It's immune to length-extensions You can't get collisions of the form param1=A||B param2=C vs. param1=A param2=B||C. But neither of those is relevant to password hashing, so it doesn't offer any advantage there. The construction looks like it's inspired by HMAC: $$ HMAC(K,m) = H((K ...


8

I'd be very surprised if it actually mattered for password hashing whether the salt was added before the password, after the password, in the middle of the password, XORed with the password or mixed with the password in any other reversible way. The actual security property required of the hash function in password hashing is a modified form of (first) ...


8

The salt has two main purposes as I understand it. To ensure that two users who choose the same password, get different password hashes. Say the CEO, and the janitor, choose the same password. Without a salt, they'd both get the same hash. This means that an attacker who managed to download the password file, could instantly see that the CEO, and the ...


8

Let's get terminology right. If you talk of "unknown s" then s is not a salt; when some piece of data is secret, we call it a key. And your "hash function" is then a MAC. In the context of "password hashing", such things are sometimes called "peppering" (as always, technical terminology is, at its core, a collection of bad puns). If your MAC is correct (i.e....


8

Identical passwords will still get unique PBKDF2 hashes given a unique salt, regardless of which mechanism you use. I don't think explicitly adding the salt improves the security of this scheme. The designer PBKDF2 have already considered and solved this problem. There is no need for you to try to duplicate their efforts. I think it's safer to use the ...


7

I'm going to attempt to answer a part of your question that has so far been neglected: when I might need to use it and why I should/should not use it. The short answer is that, as an amateur, you should not be using cryptography at a level that requires dealing with salts directly. For instance, the bcrypt password hashing algorithm uses salts ...


7

Do I have to store the salt used on the specified password in the database so it knows what to use next time? Yes that is exactly correct. Salts are not secret values but they do need to be randomly selected (without bias) distinct. This is why using dates may require some care: they have low entropy. Dynamic salt doesn't mean the salt is changing each ...


7

So, here's my question: is there a point where the salt size doesn't matter anymore in terms of security and where it might even decrease it? The purpose of a salt is to prevent the attacker from targeting multiple users' passwords with the same try or caching common passwords' hashes in a table. You need enough salts that each user has a unique salt. After ...


7

From looking at the source or 7zip that seems to be the case. The format has a place for a salt, as SEJPM's link shows. It is mixed into the homebrewn iterated SHA-256 hash before the key. The 7zip decoder even seems to support salts. However, the encoder never uses a salt. Oddly there is even code for generating a random 4-byte salt, but it is commented ...


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