How can password hashing save your e-commerce business? Today I’ll answer this question in detail. It is apparent how important it is to save a business in terms of privacy. Sometimes even more important than the revenue generation, as acquiring private data that belongs to customers and eventually losing it due to any irrespective reason, no matter how innocent the business would have been, would not justify the business side, ever.
Once the data has been lost, the business would lose its goodwill, its earned customer base, the revenue it generated with all of its sweat and blood in the form of compensation or penalty, and whatnot to mention here.
As far as the ecommerce software solutions are concerned, they usually have more user-base than any other online business. The more the online readiness, the more is the probability of having spies already standing virtually at the front door to the business, either through the website or the cloud path we use.
And it would be very difficult to build an empire back with a lost goodwill and to bring the customers back with lost trust. Password hashing, being the subject to this article, is quite a promising method that assures to keep the data safe by hashing it and is being used by many enterprise businesses to keep their data secured from getting accessed.
Before digging into this even deeper, let us just know what are the basics and how it helps in saving an enterprise business from theft.
How does password hashing actually save a business?
We are aware of the fact that the big organizations like Facebook have been a victim of data being stolen from their database recently. Well, how would anyone even trust some other organization or any enterprise mobility services provider if such tech giants have failed in keeping your data safe?
Now, in the case of hashing, the data is hashed into a string of a particular length which is impossible to turn back again to the original one as it is a one-way transformation.
Lets say, if anyone tries and succeeds in acquiring your data, the one would get the hashed data not the original one. Also, hashing can be accomplished through a lot of algorithms available.
Benefits of Hashing a password
You must know this first, that hash is only a method of representation for any data as a string of characters. It is useful as we don’t want the thief to get to see the data in its original form even if the one gets view access through any means. There are following benefits of using hashing and we would emphasize on each of them to know it better-
1. Computing the value of a hashed data is easy.
As far as it is a one-way transformation, it is easy to assign the hash value to the data and frees us to transform the hashed data back to the original one on our own.
2. It is yet impossible to modify the data being hashed once without an accurate string input.
Unless we do not enter the accurate hash value, it is impossible to modify the data. As it would seem easy to the stealer, to assume the correct length of the string but not the exact value.
3. It is unique
As we saw that having a similar length of strings is possible but not in terms of value. Every single hash is unique and is impossible to find the same hash values for two different data entities. This is the reason why finding a lost data is easy with hashing.
You may hash not just written data or just documents with textual information only, but also the media or data with audio as well as video. In other words, hashing is just allocating another name to the data so as to keep its real face safe from the spy.
Generally, we are likely to keep our password stored in our database itself which is not ideally safe but risky for any cloud-based enterprise business.
One of the essential purposes of hashing is to cross-check if the credentials have been correctly entered or not? And for that, having the password within the database is a must to get cross-checked after the server sends the request.
Now, keeping the credentials in the clear text format or in the way it can be easily read by any computer knowledgeable person could be harmful as far as privacy is concerned.
And eCommerce businesses are, if not known to have complex information like other enterprise or industrial businesses, but they are undoubtedly known to have comparatively the largest ever user bases. Thus, databases with enormous user information have always been a target for spies that earn through selling user information as an illegit database.
Hashing allows us to keep the data within the database but in the transformed manner which keeps our data safe from being a victim of an espionage.
Is hashing decodable?
Hash decoding is sort of impossible. The reason being, it is a one-way operation, as told earlier. And the process goes the way, in which a person when tries to login, the password one enters gets transformed into hash, and that hash string is then matched with the other in-house generated hash strings. Once the hash string matches, log-in succeeds, otherwise not.
Is it impossible to break the hash codes?
No. Breaking the hash codes is not that difficult but sort of impossible for any ordinary person. In fact, it is impossible unless one has already used the same algorithm for every possible password and has all the hash strings possible for any specific password, which is almost next to the rarest but not certainly impossible.
Rainbow tables and dictionary attacks are some of the thieves’ bases on which they depend and plan to espionage over the successful eCommerce or any other businesses.
They bring out every possible combination of password or in fact more just the data available in the dictionary, and keep things ready to conspire or form an espionage.
Types of hashing
There exist a few terms in hashing like bcrypt, SHA2, Argon2 that are hashing functions. However, SHA1, MD5 are some of the hashing algorithms that are nowadays not used that much due to the keys to crack their safety barriers already found.
‘Bcrypt’ hashing is considered as one of the most safe hashing functions nowadays and has its recognition for being used by the Php child WordPress. Other terms To make the hashing process even more secure, there’s seasoning, or more precisely ‘salts’ and ‘peppers’. ‘Salts’ mean that a few random characters, not even known to you, are added to your password, and they’re run through a hashing function. A ‘pepper’ works similarly, but the password and the ‘pepper’ run through the function together.
Limitations of Hash Functions
1. Hash collisions
It is seen in a very few instances that meanwhile hashing the entire data, two entities get the same hash values i.e. called hash collisions.
As far as uniqueness is concerned, the same value formation occurs due to the large subsets of ample similar quantities when entered together.
2. Hash collisions are supposed to be unavoidable in the case of a large set of enormous quantities.
Conclusively, privacy and its safety can be assured upto a limit but everything that could be saved, can be ever harmed as well by someone. As there are anti viruses for every virus and only the one who develops viruses, do develop the anti viruses as well.
Knowing the fact that you can’t be the most secure always, you can be just in the safe hands only for a certain period of time by keeping your data secured with the most powerful security methods and yourself updated with the updates available in the market regarding safety.
Watch this space for updates in the Hacks category on Running Wolf’s Rant.