I'm looking for an answer to give to management of a project I inherited after I was observed doing manual password replacement using a visual tool (via SSH tunnel).
Why encrypt password fields if you can see all the other data anyway, including names and emails?
Their question comes from their frustration that we can't just give people a new password (admin features are broken). They don't understand the benefit of having these encrypted passwords when, from their perspective, all the rest of the data is available to an administrator anyway. I wanted to give more reasoning than just it's good practice to not store clear passwords.
Further context - the password reset feature was apparently not working so I was replacing the user password by copying the encrypted value from a dummy account. This is what the manager saw me doing, at their request, and then wanted to know why it was worth having our lives made more difficult by encryption.
Yes I know that implies the current password encryption logic needs work - let's just say this is among the least of the problems from the pretending-to-not-outsource original developer. (I'm using the term "encryption" here because I don't know if the code is hashing or using a reversible form of encryption - encryption is actually the broader term for the nit-pickers.)
The SQL database is behind a REST API - they aren't exposing it directly. That's one of the few sins not committed so far, sigh.