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Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2015 14:43:01 -0700
From: Bill Cox <>
To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] Password hashing by itself is not enough

On Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 7:26 AM, Thomas Pornin <> wrote:

> From all of the above, I recommend the following:
>  -- Publish a PHS "standard API" that does not include any provision for
>  an additional secret key.
>  -- Publish _another_ API, possibly even an _implementation_, that wraps
>  around the previous one, and provides key-based password hashing with
>  the "method 3": PHS is used to produce a 128-bit output, and that output
>  is encrypted symmetrically with AES (single-block encryption).
>  -- Write a note that states that an additional key is _possible_, and
>  if one wants it then it should be done properly (as demonstrated by the
>  implementation from the previous point), but cannot be recommended in
>  all generality because whether it is a good idea or not depends on the
>  context. Keys mean key management, an often underestimated thorny
>  issue.
> Arguably, doing anything with such key strengthening is outside of the
> scope of PHC and may/should be left to other people.
>         --Thomas Pornin

I 100% agree with this recommendation.  Sorry for this lame "+1" post, but
it's getting buried among other comments.  A second API, an implementation,
and some warnings about the difficulty and dangers of key management sound
about right to me.


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