Store password hashes with salt

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- J.D. Meier, Alex Mackman, Michael Dunner, Srinath Vasireddy, Ray Escamilla and Anandha Murukan

If you need to implement a user store that contains user names and passwords, do not store the passwords either in clear text or in encrypted format. Instead of storing passwords, store non-reversible hash values with added salt to mitigate the risk of dictionary attacks.

Note A salt value is a cryptographically strong random number.


Creating a Salt Value

The following code shows how to generate a salt value by using random number generation functionality provided by the RNGCryptoServiceProvider class within the System.Security.Cryptography namespace.

public static string CreateSalt(int size)
  RNGCryptoServiceProvider rng = new RNGCryptoServiceProvider();
  byte[] buff = new byte[size];
  return Convert.ToBase64String(buff);

Creating a Hash Value (with Salt)

The following code fragment shows how to generate a hash value from a supplied password and salt value.

public static string CreatePasswordHash(string pwd, string salt)
  string saltAndPwd = string.Concat(pwd, salt);
  string hashedPwd =
                                            saltAndPwd, "SHA1");
  return hashedPwd;

More Information

For more information about implementing a user store that stores password hashes with salt, see "How To: Use Forms Authentication with SQL Server 2000" in the "How To" section of "Microsoft patterns & practices Volume I, Building Secure ASP.NET Applications: Authentication, Authorization, and Secure Communication" at


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