Authentication - establishing the authenticity of a person or other entity. Not to be confused with authorization - defining access rights to resources.

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Why do some people really hate security via client-side?

For instance, lets look at a common login system for a website HTTPS connection is made User submits credentials via POST Server-side code hashes the password and looks if it matches the user name ...
25
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3answers
2k views

Is authentication using personal pictures more secure than passwords?

Statement 1 There is a start up called PixelPin. On the web site it reads: The PixelPin solution is simple and quick to use, yet very secure. PixelPin eliminates the traditional alphanumeric ...
25
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11answers
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Is it safe to use a weak password as long as I have two-factor authentication?

I'm careful to use strong passwords (according to How Big is Your Haystack, my passwords would take a massive cracking array 1.5 million centuries to crack), I don't reuse passwords across sites, and ...
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4answers
4k views

How secure are the FIDO U2F tokens

Google and Yubico just announced the availability of cryptographic security tokens following the FIDO U2F specification. Is this just another 2FA option, or is this significantly better than solutions ...
25
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2answers
14k views

JSON Web Tokens (JWT) as user identification and authentication tokens

I'm implementing a REST service that requires authentication. I cannot store any per-user state (such as a randomly-generated token) because my service does not have direct access to a database, only ...
25
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4answers
2k views

How is “something you have” typically defined for “two-factor” authentication?

A wide range of products claim to offer "two-factor authentication" (c.v. Two-factor authentication - Wikipedia). Most are deployed as "something you have" to be used in addition to a normal password ...
24
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4answers
7k views

https security - should password be hashed server-side or client-side?

I am building a web application which requires users to login. All communication goes through https. I am using bcrypt to hash passwords. I am facing a dilemma - I used to think it is safer to make a ...
23
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2answers
3k views

Passwords in plaintext?

I'm doing some research on the App of my telephone operator. I started Burp Suite on my Mac in proxy mode, I opened up the App on my iPhone and started to sniff some traffic. I pressed the "login" ...
23
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7answers
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How to prevent cheating (extra votes) in online contests?

Mitigating Cheating & Voter Fraud in Online Contests… We run online contests of various sorts that involve users voting on entries (usually one vote per user per day). The prizes range from ...
22
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4answers
11k views

Demystifying Web Authentication (Stateless Session Cookies)

I'm currently researching user authentication protocols for a website I'm developing. I would like to create an authentication cookie so users can stay logged in between pages. Here is my first ...
22
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4answers
6k views

How secure is Windows 8's Picture Password login?

The final Windows 8 build has been released to manufacturing. One of the new features of Windows 8 is "Picture Password", where the end user logs on to Windows by clicking a specific pattern on the ...
22
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4answers
588 views

How does using OpenID affect webapp security?

Using OpenID for authenticating users grows in popularity and, in fact, makes a webapp easier to use. But what are the security considerations one should bear in mind when deciding whether to ...
22
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5answers
2k views

Should usernames be kept secret?

Help me settle an discussion among colleagues and guide future design: Even in a high impact scenario: e.g. protecting payment application or government gateway but in an Internet accessible ...
21
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3answers
3k views

What are the disadvantages of implementing HTTP authentication in a web application? [duplicate]

I know that there are different types of authentication mechanisms available. One among them is the HTTP authentication. What is the danger in using this method compared to other methods?
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3answers
2k views

How is Google Chrome managing authentication to sites?

In Chrome, every tab is its own process. Yet, logging in to a site, say, Facebook, persists across tabs. For that matter, in many cases, it persists across OS reboots. This seems inherently very very ...
21
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6answers
8k views

Could SQRL really be as secure as they say?

I just came across https://www.grc.com/sqrl/sqrl.htm With Secure QR Login, your phone snaps the QR code displayed on a website's login page . . . . and YOU are securely logged in. This ...
21
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4answers
2k views

Disclose to user if account exists?

Someone told me it shouldn't be possible for someone to detect if a certain email address is a registered user on a Website. So, for instance, when the user asks to reset his password, you should say ...
21
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5answers
4k views

Password strength and banks 4 pin code?

Why is it that some security advisers recommend using an 8 character password with upper, lower, digits, and symbols while banks only use a 4 digit number pin for debit and 3 digit pin for credit ...
21
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6answers
1k views

How to secure a WiFi network?

What do I have to do to secure a WiFi network? Is there any best practices? I have been recommended to use WPA2 encryption on the router, is that enough? What can I do to improve the security even ...
21
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9answers
2k views

How can I ensure that I connect to the right wireless Access Point?

Under Windows/Linux, client side. How can I ensure that I'm not connecting to a rogue AP?
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6answers
2k views

Web authentication - password vs key file

There is a corporate web mail site (PHP + MySQL) for limited numbers of users who are employees of a company working remotely with the corporate web portal. Each user has a login and password. I'm ...
20
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5answers
2k views

Are login “certificates” more secure than standard username + password authentication?

I just opened a new bank account which comes with internet banking. Unlike the others I have used so far, this one requires a personal certificate (a .p12 file stored on my computer) + password for ...
20
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5answers
1k views

Why do some websites and programs restrict password characteristics?

There are some websites and even programs that I use that have rediculous password restrictions. Lots of forums for instance restrict passwords to ~32 characters. Others enforce a restricted charset. ...
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3answers
5k views

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of webid compared to browserid?

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of webid compared to browserid? This question is inspired by this answer which got a number of upvotes despite being very vague on the topic of that ...
20
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1answer
739 views

What attacks, if any, are possible against Security Support Provider Interface (SSPI)?

I've been looking at SSPI recently, as it is used for authentication in a variety of Microsoft products. From the looks of it, it's based on GSSAPI and provides an abstraction for wrapping various ...
19
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12answers
3k views

Why do we even use passwords / passphrases next to biometrics?

In the last couple of days there were a lot of talking about passwords and passphrases, not only here, but on several blogs and forums I follow (especially after XKCD #936 saw the light of this ...
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5answers
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Why is “something you know” the weakest factor of authentication?

Quoting from CompTIA Security+ guide The first factor of authentication (something you know, such as password or PIN) is the weakest factor. Why? it makes sense when we say that humans/users ...
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4answers
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Why use a Smartcard for (Two Factor) Auth instead of another medium?

I recently installed Bitlocker on my Windows 8.1 machine, using only a password. I was thinking of getting something other than just a password for my storage drive, something physical, like a USB, SD ...
19
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5answers
999 views

Good session practices

What are some good practices for ensuring logins, session IDs and session content are secure for a website?
19
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9answers
876 views

What's a good way to trigger a hidden 'distress signal' in instant messaging?

Here's the scenario: Alice and bob use Off-the-record messaging to communicate over IM. The have: Encryption Authentication Deniability Perfect forward secrecy They communicate after ...
19
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4answers
7k views

Google Account: implications of using application-specific passwords

In the wake of the recent Mat Honan story I decided to try out two-factor authentication on my Google account. But in order to keep using it with Exchange, the Android OS, Google Talk and Google ...
19
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4answers
968 views

Biometric versus other Two Factor Authentication Mechanisms

Over the years biometrics is the go-to movie authentication mechanism, but in the real world I'm getting conflicting opinions about it. Everything I've learned shows that biometrics are flawed ...
19
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3answers
1k views

Why do some sites block pasting into username or password input fields?

I use a few websites that prevent me from copying & pasting into the username or password fields. It's quite frustrating when using a password manager, and if anything I'd think it discourages ...
19
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3answers
385 views

Isn't openid with http an issue?

Many openid enabled sites default to http identifiers, even if the openid provider supports https (such as myopenid.com). Does this pose a threat beside the identity being exposed? The second step of ...
19
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1answer
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Is there a standard for printing a public key as a barcode?

Is there a standard for storing a public key printed on paper? Say, I want to hand out business cards with my public key pre-printed on them at a key signing party to help build the web of trust. My ...
18
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6answers
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Why do we ask for a user's existing password when changing their password?

In a web applications context, when a user wants to change their current password, generally they would have to enter their current password first. However at this point, the user has already been ...
18
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8answers
1k views

How to protect against brute forcing

How do you properly implement defenses against brute forcing? Is it best to store how many times someone tried to log in and block them after X attempts? And how would "someone" be identified? With ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Sending temp password when users first registered - is that good for anything?

One of our clients has sent us a list of security requirements. One of them was that registration does not including setting a password - once complete, a temp password is sent to the user, and the ...
18
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1answer
679 views

Is it secure to connect to a remote Windows Server using Remote Desktop only?

I have a Windows Server that I login to from my home. I only use the pre-installed Remote Desktop. Is this a secure way to remote login or should I improve it in some way? If I should improve it, ...
17
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11answers
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2 factor authentication - cost effective solution for a web startup

My local bank uses a 2 factor authentication where customers key in password AND a One Time PIN delivered via SMS to mobile phone OR from a security token device. I am doing a web startup in the ...
17
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3answers
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Should I have a maximum password length?

I'm creating a webapp, and part of my authentication method is password length. Should I put one in place? (say, 50 characters?) Or should I just put a minimum length (Currently at 6). Are there ...
17
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9answers
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Can IP address be a component of 2-factor authentication?

I have a bunch of Linux machines that I wish to administer over the Internet. I currently use SSH keys, but have been advised to use 2-factor authentication. SSH Keys are something you know. Is an IP ...
17
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2answers
4k views

Why is it always `HASH( salt + password )` that we recommend?

Browsing over this site, many forums, online articles, there's always one specific way we're suggesting to store a password hash: function (salt, pass) { return ( StrongHash(salt + pass) ) } But ...
17
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5answers
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Can someone steal money from my bank account if they know my IBAN and personal details?

To deposit money into your account, some websites require that you provide them with a lot of details about your bank account: name, complete address and IBAN which includes your account number and ...
17
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6answers
4k views

How to verify that someone is who they say they are online?

I am working on an online job application web app and the question has come up about how we will verify that someone submitting an application is who they say they are. For example, we don't want ...
17
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4answers
5k views

Password resets - what practices should web services follow?

Many of you may have seen How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking, where a Wired reporter's Amazon, Apple, Gmail, and Twitter accounts were successfully hacked. The hacker followed ...
17
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4answers
953 views

Is it a bad idea for an information holder to e-mail a user their password?

A couple of websites with which I'm registered have, after a period of inactivity on my part, each sent me an e-mail to remind me that I'm still registered. In each case, that e-mail has included my ...
17
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1answer
97k views

How do I clear cached credentials from my Windows Profile?

Windows seems to be saving my credentials for a variety of applications (terminal servers, etc) and I'd like to purge this data. How can I backup and purge this data?
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3answers
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Recommended policy on password complexity

Is there any research on how how a password complexity policy can increase or decrease the quality of passwords? If you don't have any requirements on the password then probably 90% of users will use ...
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9answers
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is there a safe way to login to my gmail account from a public pc?

Sometimes i need to use a public pc to access my gmail account, is there a safe way to login and keep my password safe in case there was a keylogger or a trojan on that pc? are there tools that could ...