CRYPT(3) BSD Library Functions Manual CRYPT(3)NAME
crypt — Trapdoor encryption
Crypt Library (libcrypt, -lcrypt)
crypt(const char *key, const char *salt);
const char *
crypt_set_format(const char *string);
The crypt() function performs password hashing with additional code added
to deter key search attempts. Different algorithms can be used to in the
hash. Currently these include the NBS Data Encryption Standard (DES),
MD5 hash, NT-Hash (compatible with Microsoft's NT scheme) and Blowfish.
The algorithm used will depend upon the format of the Salt (following the
Modular Crypt Format (MCF)), if DES and/or Blowfish is installed or not,
and whether crypt_set_format() has been called to change the default.
The first argument to crypt is the data to hash (usually a password), in
a null-terminated string. The second is the salt, in one of three forms:
Extended If it begins with an underscore (“_”) then the DES
Extended Format is used in interpreting both the key
and the salt, as outlined below.
Modular If it begins with the string “$digit$” then the Modu‐
lar Crypt Format is used, as outlined below.
Traditional If neither of the above is true, it assumes the Tradi‐
tional Format, using the entire string as the salt (or
the first portion).
All routines are designed to be time-consuming. A brief test on a
Pentium 166/MMX shows the DES crypt to do approximately 2640 crypts a CPU
second and MD5 to do about 62 crypts a CPU second.
DES Extended Format:
The key is divided into groups of 8 characters (the last group is null-
padded) and the low-order 7 bits of each character (56 bits per group)
are used to form the DES key as follows: the first group of 56 bits
becomes the initial DES key. For each additional group, the XOR of the
encryption of the current DES key with itself and the group bits becomes
the next DES key.
The salt is a 9-character array consisting of an underscore followed by 4
bytes of iteration count and 4 bytes of salt. These are encoded as
printable characters, 6 bits per character, least significant character
first. The values 0 to 63 are encoded as ``./0-9A-Za-z''. This allows
24 bits for both count and salt.
The salt introduces disorder in the DES algorithm in one of 16777216 or
4096 possible ways (i.e., with 24 or 12 bits: if bit i of the salt is
set, then bits i and i+24 are swapped in the DES E-box output).
The DES key is used to encrypt a 64-bit constant using count iterations
of DES. The value returned is a null-terminated string, 20 or 13 bytes
(plus null) in length, consisting of the salt followed by the encoded
If the salt begins with the string $digit$ then the Modular Crypt Format
is used. The digit represents which algorithm is used in encryption.
Following the token is the actual salt to use in the encryption. The
length of the salt is limited to 8 characters--because the length of the
returned output is also limited (_PASSWORD_LEN). The salt must be termi‐
nated with the end of the string (NULL) or a dollar sign. Any characters
after the dollar sign are ignored.
Currently supported algorithms are:
Other crypt formats may be easily added. An example salt would be:
The algorithm used will depend upon whether crypt_set_format() has been
called and whether a global default format has been specified. Unless a
global default has been specified or crypt_set_format() has set the for‐
mat to something else, the built-in default format is used. This is cur‐
rently DES if it is available, or MD5 if not.
How the salt is used will depend upon the algorithm for the hash. For
best results, specify at least two characters of salt.
The crypt_get_format() function returns a constant string that represents
the name of the algorithm currently used. Valid values are ‘des’, ‘blf’,
‘md5’ and ‘nth’.
The crypt_set_format() function sets the default encoding format accord‐
ing to the supplied string.
The global default format can be set using the /etc/auth.conf file using
the crypt_default property.
The crypt() function returns a pointer to the encrypted value on success,
and NULL on failure. Note: this is not a standard behaviour, AT&T
crypt() will always return a pointer to a string.
The crypt_set_format() function will return 1 if the supplied encoding
format was valid. Otherwise, a value of 0 is returned.
SEE ALSOlogin(1), passwd(1), auth_getval(3), getpass(3), auth.conf(5), passwd(5)HISTORY
A rotor-based crypt() function appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX. The cur‐
rent style crypt() first appeared in Version 7 AT&T UNIX.
The DES section of the code (FreeSec 1.0) was developed outside the
United States of America as an unencumbered replacement for the U.S.-only
NetBSD libcrypt encryption library.
Originally written by David Burren ⟨email@example.com⟩, later additions
and changes by Poul-Henning Kamp, Mark R V Murray, Michael
Bretterklieber, Kris Kennaway, Brian Feldman, Paul Herman and Niels
The crypt() function returns a pointer to static data, and subsequent
calls to crypt() will modify the same data. Likewise, crypt_set_format()
modifies static data.
The NT-hash scheme does not use a salt, and is not hard for a competent
attacker to break. Its use is not recommended.
BSD January 19, 1997 BSD