# The pwhash* API

Sodium provides an API that can be used both for key derivation using a low-entropy input and password storage.

## Example 1: key derivation

## Example 2: password storage

## Key derivation

The `crypto_pwhash()`

function derives an `outlen`

bytes long key from a password `passwd`

whose length is `passwdlen`

and a salt `salt`

whose fixed length is `crypto_pwhash_SALTBYTES`

bytes. `passwdlen`

should be at least `crypto_pwhash_PASSWD_MIN`

and `crypto_pwhash_PASSWD_MAX`

. `outlen`

should be at least `crypto_pwhash_BYTES_MIN`

= `16`

(128 bits) and at most `crypto_pwhash_BYTES_MAX`

.

The computed key is stored into `out`

, representing the address of a dedicated storage area of `outlen`

bytes.

`opslimit`

represents the maximum amount of computations to perform. Raising this number will make the function require more CPU cycles to compute a key. This number must be between `crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_MIN`

and `crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_MAX`

.

`memlimit`

is the maximum amount of RAM in bytes that the function will use. This number must be between `crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_MIN`

and `crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_MAX`

.

`alg`

is an identifier for the algorithm to use and should be set to one of the following values:

`crypto_pwhash_ALG_DEFAULT`

: the currently recommended algorithm, which can change from one version of libsodium to another.`crypto_pwhash_ALG_ARGON2I13`

: version 1.3 of the Argon2i algorithm.`crypto_pwhash_ALG_ARGON2ID13`

: version 1.3 of the Argon2id algorithm, available since libsodium 1.0.13.

For interactive, online operations, `crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_INTERACTIVE`

and `crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_INTERACTIVE`

provide a baseline for these two parameters. This currently requires 64 MiB of dedicated RAM. Higher values may improve security (see below).

Alternatively, `crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_MODERATE`

and `crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_MODERATE`

can be used. This requires 256 MiB of dedicated RAM and takes about 0.7 seconds on a 2.8 GHz Core i7 CPU.

For highly sensitive data and non-interactive operations, `crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_SENSITIVE`

and `crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_SENSITIVE`

can be used. With these parameters, deriving a key takes about 3.5 seconds on a 2.8 GHz Core i7 CPU and requires 1024 MiB of dedicated RAM.

The `salt`

should be unpredictable. `randombytes_buf()`

is the easiest way to fill the `crypto_pwhash_SALTBYTES`

bytes of the salt.

Keep in mind that to produce the same key from the same password, the same algorithm, the same salt, and the same values for `opslimit`

and `memlimit`

must be used. Therefore, these parameters must be stored for each user.

The function returns `0`

on success and `-1`

if the computation didn’t complete, usually because the operating system refused to allocate the amount of requested memory.

## Password storage

The `crypto_pwhash_str()`

function puts an ASCII encoded string into `out`

, which includes:

the result of a memory-hard, CPU-intensive hash function applied to the password

`passwd`

of length`passwdlen`

;the automatically generated salt used for the previous computation;

the other parameters required to verify the password, including the algorithm identifier, its version,

`opslimit`

, and`memlimit`

.

`out`

must be a dedicated storage area that’s large enough to hold `crypto_pwhash_STRBYTES`

bytes, but the actual output string may be shorter.

The output string is zero-terminated, includes only ASCII characters, and can be safely stored in SQL databases and other data stores. No extra information has to be stored to verify the password.

The function returns `0`

on success and `-1`

if it didn’t complete successfully.

This function verifies that `str`

is a valid password verification string (as generated by `crypto_pwhash_str()`

) for `passwd`

whose length is `passwdlen`

.

`str`

must be zero-terminated.

It returns `0`

if the verification succeeds and `-1`

on error.

Check if a password verification string `str`

matches the parameters `opslimit`

, `memlimit`

, and the current default algorithm.

The function returns `1`

if the string appears to be correct but doesn’t match the given parameters. In that situation, applications may want to compute a new hash using the current parameters the next time the user logs in.

The function returns `0`

if the parameters already match the given ones.

It returns `-1`

on error. If this happens, applications may want to compute a correct hash the next time the user logs in.

## Guidelines for choosing the parameters

Start by determining how much memory the function can use. What will be the highest number of threads/processes evaluating the function simultaneously (ideally, no more than 1 per CPU core)? How much physical memory is guaranteed to be available?

Set `memlimit`

to the amount of memory you want to reserve for password hashing.

Then set `opslimit`

to `3`

and measure the time it takes to hash a password.

If this is way too long for your application, reduce `memlimit`

, but keep `opslimit`

set to `3`

.

If the function is so fast that you can afford it to be more computationally intensive without any usability issues, then increase `opslimit`

.

For online use (e.g. logging in on a website), a 1 second computation is likely to be the acceptable maximum.

For interactive use (e.g. a desktop application), a 5 second pause after having entered a password is acceptable if the password doesn’t need to be entered more than once per session.

For non-interactive and infrequent use (e.g. restoring an encrypted backup), an even slower computation can be an option.

However, the best defense against brute-force password cracking is to use strong passwords. Libraries such as passwdqc can help enforce this.

## Constants

`crypto_pwhash_ALG_ARGON2I13`

`crypto_pwhash_ALG_ARGON2ID13`

`crypto_pwhash_ALG_DEFAULT`

`crypto_pwhash_BYTES_MAX`

`crypto_pwhash_BYTES_MIN`

`crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_INTERACTIVE`

`crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_MAX`

`crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_MIN`

`crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_MODERATE`

`crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_SENSITIVE`

`crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_INTERACTIVE`

`crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_MAX`

`crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_MIN`

`crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_MODERATE`

`crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_SENSITIVE`

`crypto_pwhash_PASSWD_MAX`

`crypto_pwhash_PASSWD_MIN`

`crypto_pwhash_SALTBYTES`

`crypto_pwhash_STRBYTES`

`crypto_pwhash_STRPREFIX`

## Notes

`opslimit`

, the number of passes, must be at least `3`

when using Argon2i.`crypto_pwhash()`

and `crypto_pwhash_str()`

will fail with a `-1`

return code for lower values.

There is no “insecure” value for `memlimit`

, though the more memory, the better.

Do not forget to initialize the library with `sodium_init()`

. `crypto_pwhash_*`

will still work without doing so but possibly way slower.

Do not use constants (including `crypto_pwhash_OPSLIMIT_*`

and `crypto_pwhash_MEMLIMIT_*`

) to verify a password or produce a deterministic output. Save the parameters, including the algorithm identifier, alongside the hash instead.

By doing so, passwords can be rehashed using different parameters if required later on.

For password verification, the recommended interface is `crypto_pwhash_str()`

and `crypto_pwhash_str_verify()`

. The string produced by `crypto_pwhash_str()`

already includes an algorithm identifier and all the parameters, including the automatically generated salt, that were used to hash the password. Subsequently, `crypto_pwhash_str_verify()`

automatically decodes these parameters

Plaintext passwords should not stay in memory longer than needed.

It is highly recommended to use `sodium_mlock()`

to lock memory regions storing plaintext passwords and to call `sodium_munlock()`

right after `crypto_pwhash_str()`

and `crypto_pwhash_str_verify()`

return.

`sodium_munlock()`

overwrites the region with zeros before unlocking it, so it must not be done before calling this function; otherwise, zeroes, instead of the password, would be hashed.

Since version 1.0.15, libsodium’s default algorithm is Argon2id.

Passwords should generally not be used for encryption. If that must be done, then read the AEADs section first.

## Algorithm details

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