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I was looking through a list of steps to take when there is a risk that your site has been hacked. It recommends changing the value of $drupal_hash_salt in settings.php.

According to the inline comments in settings.php:

Salt for one-time login links and cancel links, form tokens, etc.

This variable will be set to a random value by the installer. All one-time login links will be invalidated if the value is changed. Note that if your site is deployed on a cluster of web servers, you must ensure that this variable has the same value on each server. If this variable is empty, a hash of the serialized database credentials will be used as a fallback salt.

Can I simply replace the existing value with random string? I am worried that changing this string may adversely effect some other aspect of site functionality.

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Disruption should be minimal -- the salt value was designed to be changeable. As it says, it will invalidate one-time login links when the salt is changed. But if you suspect that you've been hacked, this is precisely what you want to happen.

  • So if I change it then any one-time login links previous to the change will be invalid. However, any one-time login link generated after changing $drupal_hash_salt should work as per normal. Is that correct? – Benjen Apr 1 '15 at 23:10
  • 1
    Yes that is correct. – Darvanen Apr 2 '15 at 0:11

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