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Connecting to a database that stores the password in plain text


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I need to connect to a database that happens to store the users' passwords in plain text. This is simply to authenticate them then the connection is closed. Is there anything that I can do when connecting, besides the usual validation and sanitization, to make it secure? I am thinking about doing SSL if that is possible but I am out of ideas. I do not have the ability to change their policy on plain text passwords.

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