crypt provides acess to two algorithms for password encryption. One it's based on the Data Encryption Standard algorithm with variations intended (among other things) to discourage use of hardware implementations of a key search.
key is a user's typed password.
By taking the lowest 7 bit of each character of the key, a 56-bit key is obtained. This 56-bit key is used to encrypt repeatedly a constant string (usually a string consisting of all zeros). The returned value points to the encrypted password, a series of 13 printable ASCII characters (the first two characters represent the salt itself). The return value points to static data whose content is overwritten by each call.
Warning: The key space consists of 2 56 equal 7.2e16 possible values. Exhaustive searches of this key space are possible using massively parallel computers. Software, such as crack(1)?, is available which will search the portion of this key space that is generally used by humans for passwords. Hence, password selection should, at minimum, avoid common words and names. The use of a passwd(1) program that checks for crackable passwords during the selection process is recommended.
The crypt function was not implemented, probably because of U.S.A. export restrictions.
If the salt starts with $1$ an MD5 based password hashing algorithm is applied. The salt should consist off $1$ followed with eight characters.