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Anatomy of a hack: How crackers ransack passwords like “qeadzcwrsfxv1331” | Ars Technica
In fact, there's almost nothing preventing crackers from deciphering the hashes. LivingSocial used the SHA1 algorithm, which as mentioned earlier is woefully inadequate for password hashing. He also mentioned that the hashes had been "salted," meaning a unique set of bits had been added to each users' plaintext password before it was hashed. It turns out that this measure did little to mitigate the potential threat. That's because salt is largely a protection against rainbow tables and other types of precomputed attacks, which almost no one ever uses in real-world cracks. The file sizes involved in rainbow attacks are so unwieldy that they fell out of vogue once GPU-based cracking became viable. (LivingSocial later said it's in the process of transitioning to the much more secure bcrypt function.)
hacking  cracking  security  passwords 
january 2015 by kme
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