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I'm working on a site for someone that doesn't have any keys in the wp-config file. Isn't this a serious issue? I know I can generate these but I wonder if this will have any side-effects..also, is this currently a security risk because the site had been hacked.

Example:

define('AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
define('NONCE_KEY', 'put your unique phrase here');
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Those are keys. They're just not good ones. Grab some ASAP from api.wordpress.org/secret-key/1.1/salt . –  Pat J Nov 7 '13 at 14:51
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1 Answer

Yes, predictable (or known) keys present a serious security vulnerability.

These keys (salts) are used, for instance, to create a secure cookie for log-in. I explain in more detail in this post, but the upshot is that if the salts are known, then its relatively easy to brute-force the log-in cookie and so get access to the admin.

A conservative estimate on such a brute-force attack is about a week.

source: http://codeseekah.com/2012/04/09/why-wordpress-authentication-unique-keys-and-salts-are-important/

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