Salted hashes demystified

Contributed by Andres Andreu in 2005. Restored from the old site.

This primer will provide a basic level explanation of how seeded (or salted) hashes of clear text data are structured / created. The original formalization of this concept comes from RFC-31121. This document is written so that an understanding of this type of functionality becomes possible to anyone with a good computer science foundation. For the purposes of this exploratory journey we will use the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1) hashing algorithm (NIST FIPS 180-22, RFC-31743). The salting concepts apply to any one-way hashing algorithm including the MD-5 algorithm (RFC-13214).

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