# Why is a rainbow table called a rainbow table

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Googling, I find plenty of references to rainbow tables, but none seem to explain WHY it's called a rainbow table.

Where's the rainbow?

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I'm not sure this is correct, but it's all I could find:

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That said this: "They're called rainbow tables because each column has a different reduction function and sortof looks like a rainbow."

I found, after lots of bad hits, a few similar hints here:

"they call it Rainbow tables because they use a different reduction function on each column on the table"

And another hint here:

"Rainbow tables differ in that they don't use multiple tables with different reduction functions, they only use one table. However in Rainbow Tables a different reduction function is used for each column."

Not concrete but I guess that's as good as it gets.

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Could be, that they mean, that the difference from one row to the next is only a little bit different like a rainbow. ;-)

Sincerely, Markus

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: These files are called rainbow tables because they : contain every letter combination "under the rainbow".

The implication seems to be that Martin Hellman coined the term in a paper published in 1980.

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The term is from a paper by Philippe Oechslin in 2003.

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I forgot to put the cite where this supposedly came from

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OK. This meaning seems to be possible. Beacuse of this, I use salted passwords.

Sincerely, Markus

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Some said the term was coined in "Making a Faster Cryptanalytic Time-Memory Trade-Off" by Philippe Oechslin (2003) in which he describes an improvement to Hellman's method. He doesn't explain the term.

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Others explain this...

(beginning with: Because it contains the entire "spectrum" of possibilities.)

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They don?t, though. That person is just guessing, wrongly.

The guess further down by osgx that that the different reduction functions are notionally different colors is much more plausible.

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Maybe, but usage of the term in English language printed books started in about 2002:

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