Encryption scheme

1. The encryption scheme used for UNIX passwords is one way; it is not possible to reverse it. Therefore, would it be accurate to say that this is, in fact, a hash code rather than an encryption of the password?

2. Assuming that you have successfully answered the preceding problem and understand the significance of the salt, here is another question. Wouldn’t it be possible to thwart completely all password crackers by dramatically increasing the salt size to, say, 24 or 48 bits?

It was stated that the inclusion of the salt in the UNIX password scheme increases the difficulty of guessing by a factor of 4096. But the salt is stored in plaintext in the same entry as the corresponding ciphertext password. Therefore, those two characters are known to the attacker and need not be guessed. Why is it asserted that the salt increases security?

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