Comments
Safely Storing User Passwords: Hashing vs. Encrypting
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
TejGandhi1986
50%
50%
TejGandhi1986,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2014 | 9:01:50 PM
Preventing the password file from getting stolen
Thanks for the article,itis very informative and provide details on the foundations related to hashing and encryption.

Considering different chain of thoughts ,along with encryption and hashing that is used to secure passwords it is essential that the password file is well protected SAM file in windows and etc/shadow or etc/passwd file in Linux access must be restricted with multiple layers of defense to prevent it from getting stolen.

Thanks

Tej Gandhi

 
MichaelCoates
100%
0%
MichaelCoates,
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 4:16:00 PM
Re: Good overview
Good question. The stolen database would indeed include the salts. However, exposure of random per-user salts does not undermine their purpose and security benefits.

There are two benefits to using per-user salts

1. When using per-user salts an attacker cannot simply review the stolen password hash databse for duplicate hashes (which would indicate the same original password for both accounts). The introduction of a per-user salt ensures that even the same password will result in unique hashes.

2. An attacker cannot download a rainbow table and use it against the password hashes. A rainbow table is a large database of precomputed hashes for a variety of common passwords (or even all possible passwords of certain character sets and lengths). Without per-user salts an attacker could do a simple lookup of the stolen hash within the rainbow table to determine the original password. The introduction of per-user salts means the rainbow table is useless.


Sure, an attacker could incorporate the salt into a brute force attack. But the purpose of a salt isn't to stop brute force. It's to accomplish the two items mentioned above (duplicate hashes and rainbow tables). As I mentioned in the article, the iterative hashing approach that exists in bcrypt/scrypt/PBKDF2 is the defense against brute force attacks on the password hash.

 

Hope that helps.

Michael

 
chiefwilson
50%
50%
chiefwilson,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/11/2014 | 9:57:04 PM
Re: Good overview
Michael,

Thank you for a well-written article. I agree that hashing passwords with added salt provides far greater security than simply encrypting passwords. My question is simple: If a malicious actor steals a database of password hashes, won't this database include the salts as well, thereby nullifying the purpose of the salt, which is to defend against brute force dictionary and rainbow table attacks?
Marilyn Cohodas
100%
0%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 2:51:46 PM
Re: Good overview
Thanks, Michael. One of the things I've been hearing about more and more is that personal information has become much more valuable a target for cybercrime than, for example credit cards. If that's the case, then your message about hashing versus encryption is one that InfoSec pros should definitely take to heart. 
MichaelCoates
100%
0%
MichaelCoates,
User Rank: Author
6/4/2014 | 1:02:50 PM
Re: Good overview
The largest misconception is that since encryption is good for protecting information in some situations it is therefore appropriate for all situations involving sensitive data. As discussed above, encryption is really the wrong choice for protecting passwords.

Second, that any hashing algorithm is sufficient for password hashing. Selecting a weak algorithm like md5 or failing to user per user salts places passwords at extreme risk if the hash file is stolen.

-Michael
Marilyn Cohodas
100%
0%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
6/4/2014 | 12:34:09 PM
Good overview
Thanks for your detailed overview, Michael. You say that to propertly secure user invormation today, application developers must starts with "a proper understanding of fundamental security controls and the protection of user passwords using modern hashing algorithms." What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding of security that app developers have?


Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1421
Published: 2014-11-25
mountall 1.54, as used in Ubuntu 14.10, does not properly handle the umask when using the mount utility, which allows local users to bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3605
Published: 2014-11-25
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2014-6407. Reason: This candidate is a reservation duplicate of CVE-2014-6407. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2014-6407 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to pre...

CVE-2014-6093
Published: 2014-11-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM WebSphere Portal 7.0.x before 7.0.0.2 CF29, 8.0.x through 8.0.0.1 CF14, and 8.5.x before 8.5.0 CF02 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL.

CVE-2014-6196
Published: 2014-11-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM Web Experience Factory (WEF) 6.1.5 through 8.5.0.1, as used in WebSphere Dashboard Framework (WDF) and Lotus Widget Factory (LWF), allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML by leveraging a Dojo builder error in an unspecified WebSp...

CVE-2014-7247
Published: 2014-11-25
Unspecified vulnerability in JustSystems Ichitaro 2008 through 2011; Ichitaro Government 6, 7, 2008, 2009, and 2010; Ichitaro Pro; Ichitaro Pro 2; Ichitaro 2011 Sou; Ichitaro 2012 Shou; Ichitaro 2013 Gen; and Ichitaro 2014 Tetsu allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted file.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?