Tuesday, August 17, 2021

How password hashing works on Linux

You may know that passwords are hashed on Linux systems, and the hashes are stored in the restricted access /etc/shadow file. But did you know that you can also determine the hash method that was used and report the number of days since a password was last changed from this file as well?

To look at a user record in the /etc/shadow file, run a command like this:

$ sudo grep nemo /etc/shadow

You should see a line that looks something like this:


In spite of how long that line is, it's quite easy to parse. The first two fields in the lines of this colon-separated file store:

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Thanks to Sandra Henry-Stocker (see source)

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