Password Salting

Password Salting is a technique used to help protect passwords stored in a database from being reverse engineered by hackers who might breach the environment. Password salting involves adding a string of between 32 or more characters to a password and then hashing it. Password salting is one of the most secure ways to protect passwords stored for future authentication without exposing them should your website be breached in the future. However, salted passwords must also be iteratively hashed multiple times for this protection to work. When salting and recursive hashing are employed, Rainbow Tables become useless for password cracking. 

Source: Techopedia

Additional Reading: 

  1. How to Secure Your Website against Data Breaches
  2. Bad News: LastPass Website Breach. Good News, you should be Ok (because they Salted and Hashed your Master Passwords)

Related Terms: Hashing, Rainbow Tables

What does this mean for an SMB?

Similar to the advice in CyberHoot’s Hashing and Rainbow Table articles, if you develop code that stores passwords in a database for authentication, you must salt and hash those passwords to protect your users. Not doing so is asking for a critical brand crushing breach.
 
Beyond simply salting and hashing passwords before storage, you should also follow these guidelines for success.
  1. Make sure the salt isn’t too short and do not simply use the usernames of the password as your salts. Salts should be 32 characters or longer in length.
  2. Avoid using outdated hashing algorithms, such as MD5 and SHA1.
  3. Ensure you hash the salted passwords multiple times. For the average website, you’ll want to recursively hash 1000’s of times. If your like LastPass, storing the Master Password, you’ll need to perform 100,000 recursive hashes before storing the results for future comparison.
  4. Finally, the first and best prevention method is to educate your employees on the threats they face. Educating your employees on the cybersecurity basics can stop these attacks before they succeed.

To learn more about how Hashing works, watch this short 2 minute video:

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