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There is virtually no chance that, after selecting bcrypt, you will be forced to scramble to replace it in 2 months.

There is no chance that, after selecting bcrypt, you will be forced to scramble to replace it with salted SHA-1 hashes. bcrypt is strictly better than what you're doing now.

Fantastic. One more question: does increasing the work factor automagically upgrade existing passwords in some way? As in, will bcrypt passwords created today be strong enough in 2020?


The Ruby on Rails auth system I use, Devise [1], will automatically update a user's password to use your new work factor on their next login.

You could do something similar.

[1] https://github.com/plataformatec/devise


No; you'd upgrade them incrementally.


getsat and tptacek have already answered your question, so I won't rehash that (pun wholly intended), but I should point out that one interesting property of PBKDF2 is that you can increment the work factor (number of iterations).

PBKDF2(password, iterations=10) == PBKDF2(PBKDF2(password, iterations=5), iterations=5)

Thus you could, say, increase the number of iterations every month. All that said, you should still use bcrypt; this is just an interesting property IMO.


That does introduce a security concern though. While it might be hard in practise, if you have a copy of a hashed password iterated 200 times, then a copy of the same hashed password iterated 300 times and have cracked the 200 iteration hash, you could verify the other hash is the same by applying 100 iterations to the hash. To solve this you would want to change the salt whenever you change the password, which involves doing all the iterations again. Then you are no better off then using a non-incrementing solution like bcrypt. The only situation where you wouldn't be able to make a new salt, however, is if the user hasn't logged in for a while (which is quite possible for single-use accounts on websites).


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