Salted password

What Is Salting in Password Security and How Does It Work?

By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate

Salting is a technique commonly used in the field of data security, especially when it comes to password storage.

In simple terms, salting involves adding a unique, random string of characters (called a ‘salt’) to a password before it gets hashed.

Hashing is a process that transforms the password into a fixed-length, scrambled set of characters, making it more challenging for unauthorized users to crack.

The primary purpose of salting is to enhance security by making it tougher for attackers to guess passwords through methods like brute force or dictionary attacks.

By adding the salt, even identical passwords will produce unique hashes, which means an attacker can’t simply precompute a list of hashes for common passwords.

Salting Examples

Here’s a simple example to illustrate the concept of salting passwords.

Let’s say we have two users with the same password, “[email protected]”.

Without salting, the unsalted passwords and their corresponding hashes might look like this:

User 1:

User 2:

Notice that the hashes are identical, making it easier for attackers to identify the original password.

Now, let’s add unique salts to the passwords:

User 1:

User 2:

By adding unique salts to the passwords, we’ve created different salted hashes even though the original passwords were the same.

This makes it more difficult for an attacker to crack the passwords, as they would need to compute hashes for each individual salt combined with the possible password.

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Salting is a valuable process that adds an extra layer of security to password storage, keeping sensitive data safer from potential breaches.

Importance of Salting User Passwords (Video)

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional