Day 59: Secrets of Cryptographic Salt and Its Importance

Guilherme Soares
3 min readNov 28, 2023

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Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

“In the recipe of digital security, cryptographic salt is the secret ingredient that turns the ordinary into the uncrackable.” — Cybersecurity Chef

In the vast and intricate world of cybersecurity, the concept of ‘salting’ holds a pivotal position, often overshadowed by more complex cryptographic techniques but no less crucial. Salting, a fundamental concept in cryptography, plays a critical role in safeguarding our digital lives. Today, we’ll unravel the secrets of cryptographic salt and its importance in enhancing security.

Understanding Cryptographic Salt

A ‘salt’ in cryptography is random data that is used as an additional input to a hashing function. The primary purpose of a salt is to add uniqueness to each piece of data being hashed, thereby thwarting various types of cyber attacks.

Why Use Salt?

  • Combating Rainbow Tables: Salts render rainbow table attacks — a method of cracking passwords using precomputed tables — ineffective.
  • Preventing Duplicate Hashes: By adding unique salts to different user passwords, even identical passwords will result in different hashes, enhancing security.

The Mechanics of Salting

When a user creates a password, a unique salt is generated and appended (or prepended) to the password. This combined string is then hashed and stored in the database. During authentication, the same salt must be used with the entered password to verify the user.

Example Process:

  1. User Registration: User creates a password → A unique salt is generated → Password + Salt is hashed → Store hash and salt in the database.
  2. User Login: User enters password → Retrieve salt from the database → Hash entered password + Salt → Compare with stored hash.

Implementing Salt in JavaScript

Here’s a simple example to illustrate how salting can be implemented in JavaScript:

const crypto = require('crypto');

function generateSalt(length = 16) {
return…

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Guilherme Soares

I'm a senior software developer passionate about technology and to share knowledge.