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How to change the SQL Membership security question Answer, stored as a hashed value with a PasswordSalt

Posted on 2008-10-21
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I am developing a website that uses forms authentication.  I have set up the default SQL Membership Provider database for this.  

For the Membership SQL Provider, I have set the following:  requiresQuestionAndAnswer="true", passwordFormat="Hashed"...etc.

On an page in my site, I am allowing the user to change their security question and answer.  In the C# code-behind, I tried using the default stored procedure: aspnet_Membership_ChangePasswordQuestionAndAnswer(appname, username, newQuestion, newAnswer)
to reset the security question and answer.  This works; except that the security answer is saved in the Membership table as a STRING value; NOT as a salted, hashed value.

So, then I tried researching how to manually convert the security answer from a string value to a salted/hashed value.  
First I tried this: FormsAuthentication.HashPasswordForStoringInConfigFile(saltValue + answerValue, hashtype)....(where hashtype is equal toMembership.HashAlgorithmType).  This gave me a hashed value, but not the hashed value I was after; it didn't work for me.

Then I tried implementing this logic...again, this gave me a hashed value, but not the hashed value I needed:
    public static string HashStringWithSalt(string answerValue, string saltValue)
    {
        byte[] salt = System.Convert.FromBase64String(saltValue);
        byte[] answer = System.Text.Encoding.Unicode.GetBytes(answerValue);

        // Mix together
        byte[] saltWithAnser = new byte[salt.Length + answer.Length];
        System.Buffer.BlockCopy(salt, 0, saltWithAnser, 0, salt.Length);
        System.Buffer.BlockCopy(answer, 0, saltWithAnser, salt.Length, answer.Length);

        // Get hash value and return a base64-encoded string
        byte[] hash = new System.Security.Cryptography.SHA1CryptoServiceProvider().ComputeHash(saltWithAnser);
       
        return Convert.ToBase64String(hash);
    }


NOTE: I know that I did not receive the proper hashed values from my trials above because I have added several user accounts to my membership database; lets say UserA and UserB.  I have used the same password and same security question/answer for these accounts (obviously for testing purposes only).  Then I copied the PasswordSalt value for UserA into UserB's PasswordSalt in the Membership table.  Then on my web page, I changed my security answer for UserB, and the security answer hashed value I received did not match the hashed value for UserA's security answer.

I am very new to ASP.NET, and have never set up a website using Forms Authentication before.  So I will be greatful for any help...I have been searchign the web for hours and can't seem to find a solution that fits my problem...basically I need to allow the user to reset their security question & answer; and save the security answer as a salted/hashed value.
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Question by:farminsure
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Accepted Solution

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farminsure earned 0 total points
ID: 22811974
I had tried using the ChangePasswordQuestionAndAnswer stored procedure that was created by default when I established the SQL membership provider and this didn't work.  
So I thought using the ChangePasswordQuestionAndAnswer method would produce the same results, but it didn't.  The method does exactly what I need; it properly hashes my question Answer with the appropriate PasswordSalt.  
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