Comparing passwords with crypt() in PHP

I need to get the basics of this function. The php.net documentation states, for the blowfish algorithm, that:

Blowfish hashing with a salt as follows: "$2a$", a two digit cost parameter, "$", and 22 base 64 digits from the alphabet "./0-9A-Za-z". Using characters outside of this range in the salt will cause crypt() to return a zero-length string

So this, by definition, should not work:

echo crypt('rasmuslerdorf', '$2a$07$usesomadasdsadsadsadasdasdasdsadesillystringforsalt$');

However, it spits out:

$2a$07$usesomadasdsadsadsadaeMTUHlZEItvtV00u0.kb7qhDlC0Kou9e

Where it seems that crypt() has cut the salt itself to a length of 22. Could somebody please explain this?

Another aspect of this function I can't get my head around is when they use crypt() to compare passwords. http://php.net/manual/en/function.crypt.php (look at ex. #1). Does this mean that if I use the same salt for all encrypting all my passwords, I have to crypt it first? ie:

$salt = "usesomadasdsadsadsadae";
$salt_crypt = crypt($salt);

if (crypt($user_input, $salt) == $password) {
   // FAIL WONT WORK
}

if (crypt($user_input, $salt_crypt) == $password) {
   // I HAVE TO DO THIS?
}    

Thanks for your time

Answers


Following code example may answer your questions.

To generate hashed password using Blowfish, you first need to generate a salt, which starts with $2a$ followed by iteration count and 22 characters of Base64 string.

$salt = '$2a$07$usesomadasdsadsadsadasdasdasdsadesillystringfors';
$digest = crypt('rasmuslerdorf', $salt);

Store the whole $digest in database, it has both the salt and digest.

When comparing password, just do this,

  if (crypt($user_input, $digest) == $digest)

You are reusing the digest as salt. crypt knows how long is the salt from the algorithm identifier.


New salt for every password

$password = 'p@ssw0rd';

$salt = uniqid('', true);
$algo = '6'; // CRYPT_SHA512
$rounds = '5042';
$cryptSalt = '$'.$algo.'$rounds='.$rounds.'$'.$salt;

$hashedPassword = crypt($password, $cryptSalt);
// Store complete $hashedPassword in DB

echo "<hr>$password<hr>$algo<hr>$rounds<hr>$cryptSalt<hr>$hashedPassword";

Authentication

if (crypt($passwordFromPost, $hashedPasswordInDb) == $hashedPasswordInDb) {
    // Authenticated

Quoting from the manual

CRYPT_BLOWFISH - Blowfish hashing with a salt as follows: "$2a$", a two digit cost parameter, "$", and 22 base 64 digits from the alphabet

Note: 22 base 64 digits


BCrypt uses 128 bits for salt, so 22 bytes Base64, with only two bits of the last byte being used.

The hash is computed using the salt and the password. When you pass the crypted password, the algorithm reads the strength, the salt (ignoring everything beyond it), and the password you gave, and computes the hash, appending it. If you have PostgreSQL and pg_crypto handy, SELECT gen_salt('bf'); will show you what of $salt is being read.

Here's a code sample for salt generation, from my .NET implementation's test-vector-gen.php, alternatively:

$salt = sprintf('$2a$%02d$%s', [strength goes here],
    strtr(str_replace(
    '=', '', base64_encode(openssl_random_pseudo_bytes(16))
    ),
    'ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/',
    './ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789'));

There is no reason to use the same salt for all of your passwords. The salt is part of the output anyway so you gain nothing in convenience... though I grant PHP ought to have a built-in gen_salt function.


First question:

So this, by definition, should not work:

echo crypt('rasmuslerdorf', '$2a$07$usesomadasdsadsadsadasdasdasdsadesillystringforsalt$');

Where it seems that crypt() has cut the salt itself to a length of 22. Could somebody please explain this?

There isn't a problem with having too many characters... the phrase Using characters outside of this range in the salt will cause crypt() to return a zero-length string referse to outside the range of base 64 not the range of 22 characters. Try putting an illegal character in the salt string, and you should find that you get an empty output (or if you put < 22 characters in, resulting in illegal empty bytes).

Second question:

You pass in the encrypted stored password as salt because the salt string always appears (by design) in the encrypted string, and this way you ensure that you have the same salt for both encryption of stored and user-entered password.


This question is in relation to my response to ZZ Coder's answer. Basically my question is regarding storing the crypt() result in the database. Am I supposed to store the entire output in the database, so that my database looks like this:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| ID | Username |                          Password                            |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| 32 | testuser | $2a$07$usesomadasdsadsadsadaeMTUHlZEItvtV00u0.kb7qhDlC0Kou9e |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If yes, then doesn't this kind of defy the purpose of using a salt in the first place? If someone gains access to the db, they can clearly see the salt used for the encryption?

Bonus question: Is it secure to use the same salt for every password?


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