The main differences between MD5 and modern password hashing algorithms like Bcrypt (which is often used through
Hash::make() in Laravel) lie in their security properties:
- MD5 (Message Digest Algorithm 5):
- Algorithm: MD5 is a cryptographic hash function that produces a 128-bit (16-byte) hash value.
- Speed: It is very fast and efficient in terms of computation.
- Vulnerable to collision attacks. This means that two different inputs can produce the same hash value, making it unsuitable for secure applications.
- Vulnerable to precomputed tables (rainbow tables), which can be used to quickly look up the original input of a hash.
- Usage: Due to its vulnerabilities, MD5 is considered cryptographically broken and unsuitable for further use in secure applications like password hashing.
- Bcrypt (used in Hash::make() in Laravel):
- Algorithm: Bcrypt (Blowfish Cryptographic Hash Function) is a key derivation function designed for securely hashing passwords.
- Speed: It is intentionally slow, making it computationally expensive and time-consuming for attackers.
- Adaptability: Bcrypt adapts to Moore’s law and increases the computational requirements as hardware becomes faster.
- Produces a hash value that includes the algorithm, cost factor, salt, and hash.
- The salt is unique to each password, which means that even if two users have the same password, their hash values will be different.
- Security: It is currently considered one of the best practices for password hashing and is widely recommended for secure password storage.
In summary, MD5 is fast but insecure, while Bcrypt is intentionally slow and designed to be highly secure. When it comes to password storage, using a slow hash function like Bcrypt is crucial for security, as it makes it significantly harder for attackers to brute force or use precomputed tables to crack passwords.