What is the fastest, yet secure way to encrypt passwords in (PHP preferred), and for which ever method you choose is it portable?
In other words if I later migrate my website to a different server will my passwords continue to work?
The method I am using now as I was told is dependent on the exact versions of the libraries installed on the server.
If you are choosing an encryption method for your login system then speed is not your friend, Jeff had a to-and-frow with Thomas Ptacek about passwords and the conclusion was that you should use the slowest, most secure encryption method you can afford to.
From Thomas Ptacek’s blog:
Speed is exactly what you don’t want in a password hash function.
Modern password schemes are attacked with incremental password crackers.
Incremental crackers don’t precalculate all possible cracked passwords. They consider each password hash individually, and they feed their dictionary through the password hash function the same way your PHP login page would. Rainbow table crackers like Ophcrack use space to attack passwords; incremental crackers like John the Ripper, Crack, and LC5 work with time: statistics and compute.
The password attack game is scored in time taken to crack password X. With rainbow tables, that time depends on how big your table needs to be and how fast you can search it. With incremental crackers, the time depends on how fast you can make the password hash function run.
The better you can optimize your password hash function, the faster your password hash function gets, the weaker your scheme is. MD5 and SHA1, even conventional block ciphers like DES, are designed to be fast. MD5, SHA1, and DES are weak password hashes. On modern CPUs, raw crypto building blocks like DES and MD5 can be bitsliced, vectorized, and parallelized to make password searches lightning fast. Game-over FPGA implementations cost only hundreds of dollars.
I’m with Peter. Developer don’t seem to understand passwords. We all pick (and I’m guilty of this too) MD5 or SHA1 because they are fast. Thinking about it (‘cuz someone recently pointed it out to me) that doesn’t make any sense. We should be picking a hashing algorithm that’s stupid slow. I mean, on the scale of things, a busy site will hash passwords what? every 1/2 minute? Who cares if it take 0.8 seconds vs 0.03 seconds server wise? But that extra slowness is huge to prevent all types of common brute-forcish attacks.
From my reading, bcrypt is specifically designed for secure password hashing. It’s based on blowfish, and there are many implementation.
For PHP, check out PHPPass http://www.openwall.com/phpass/
For anyone doing .NET, check out BCrypt.NET http://derekslager.com/blog/posts/2007/10/bcrypt-dotnet-strong-password-hashing-for-dotnet-and-mono.ashx
It should be pointed out that you don’t want to encrypt the password, you want to hash it.
Encrypted passwords can be decrypted, letting someone see the password. Hashing is a one-way operation so the user’s original password is (cryptographically) gone.
As for which algorithm you should choose – use the currently accepted standard one:
And when you hash the user’s password, be sure to also hash in some other junk with it. e.g.:
Append the salt to the user’s password:
String s = HashStringSHA256("password1PasswordSaltDesignedForThisQuestion");
Whatever you do, don’t write your own encryption algorithm. Doing this will almost guarantee (unless you’re a cryptographer) that there will be a flaw in the algorithm that will make it trivial to crack.
I’m not necessarily looking for the fastest but a nice balance, some of the server that this code is being developed for are fairly slow, the script that hashes and stores the password is taking 5-6 seconds to run, and I’ve narrowed it down to the hashing (if I comment the hashing out it runs, in 1-2 seconds).
It doesn’t have to be the MOST secure, I’m not codding for a bank (right now) but I certainly WILL NOT store the passwords as plain-text.
Consider to use
bcrypt it is used in many modern frameworks like laravel.
In 2017, saving password with a hash function is not enough. User password can be cracked by applying lookup tables and rainbow tables. Lookup tables and rainbow tables only work because each password is hashed the exact same way. We can prevent these attacks by randomizing each hash, so that when the same password is hashed twice, the hashes are not the same.
It is better to iterate over an HMAC with a random salt for about a 100ms duration and save the salt with the hash.
Secure Hash Algorithms : SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512
Popular Password Hashing Functions : PBKDF2, Rfc2898DeriveBytes, password_hash, Bcrypt, passlib.hash