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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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 ...
18
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12answers
2k 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 ...
18
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6answers
2k views

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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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 ...
18
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4answers
6k 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 ...
18
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2answers
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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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3answers
368 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 ...
17
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5answers
862 views

Good session practices

What are some good practices for ensuring logins, session IDs and session content are secure for a website?
17
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3answers
2k views

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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4answers
968 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 ...
17
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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. ...
17
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6answers
2k 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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8answers
911 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 ...
17
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3answers
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What is the difference between authorized_key and known_host file for SSH?

I am learning basics of SSH protocol. I am confused between the contents of the following 2 files: ~/.ssh/authorized_keys: Holds a list of authorized public keys for servers. When the client ...
17
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4answers
4k 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 ...
17
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1answer
546 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, ...
16
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4answers
704 views

Effectiveness of Security Images

Do security images such as those presented upon logging into banks provide any tangible security benefits, or are they mostly theater? Per my understanding, if somebody is phishing your users, it's ...
16
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4answers
3k 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 ...
15
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9answers
2k views

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 ...
15
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7answers
870 views

Taking password letters not whole one, is this secure? [duplicate]

I found a site which is taking password letters from their users not the whole password. Is this secure? Or do they have saved password as salted hash (MD5)?
15
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6answers
912 views

Appropriate password requirements for a login (OpenID) service/provider/delegate/thing

This is with regards* to Stack Exchange's upcoming OpenID provider (and in particular, discussion about password requirements). Currently, password requirements are: Must contain 3 of: lower case ...
15
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2answers
3k 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 ...
15
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4answers
4k views

Are there technical disadvantages in using free ssl certificates?

Note this question is related, except this one is about free SSL certs. There are providers who are offering totally free entry-level SSL certs (like StartSSL). I was wondering if they are ...
15
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4answers
5k 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 ...
15
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3answers
946 views

Multi factor authentication on Ubuntu workstations, where to start?

Is it possible to have Ubuntu users log in with multi-factor authentication? I was thinking of a combination of pass(word|code) and smartcard (with screen locks when for example smart-card is removed) ...
15
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4answers
373 views

Why aren't digital signatures the standard way to authenticate web clients?

The web is a mess of incompatible cookie schemes, asinine requirements ("your password must contain letters, numbers, and at least one symbol from !()-_., and must begin with a letter, and once you ...
15
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4answers
798 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 ...
15
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3answers
2k views

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 ...
14
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10answers
2k views

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 ...
14
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6answers
825 views

Is This Login Security Enough?

I'm coming up with my next login system for admins of an ecommerce website to have login form is SSL secured password is converted to sha256 before being transmitted (bcrypt is too slow still for ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

Is the Facebook login form using SSL without https in the URL?

If I go to http://facebook.com, I am not redirected to https://www.facebook.com. If it doesn't have https in the URL, can the login be secure? Usually I am redirected to an https page on other sites? ...
14
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6answers
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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 ...
14
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2answers
637 views

Password and Generated number - How does it work?

In my company, they don't allow accessing the company email or servers from outside the company network. To access the email from outside the network, you have to use: Username, password and a number ...
14
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5answers
763 views

Does two factor authentication prevent social engineering attacks

After reading this article from symantec I got to think how much all these social engineering techniques rely on the authentication system of users, a password. Considering three different additional ...
14
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3answers
596 views

What can I do if my bank thinks my date of birth is “known only to me”?

My bank has recently replaced passwords with occasionally asking me information that is "known only to me". Such information includes my date of birth, postcode, and my mother’s maiden name. ...
14
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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 ...
14
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5answers
717 views

Safe way to authenticate (multi-factor authentication?) while being monitored?

(I'm trying for a bit more precise answer, particularly with regard to multi-factor authentication, than I received for "Safe way to use a computer that has spyware/keylogger installed?" on SU.) ...
14
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2answers
634 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 ...
14
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4answers
382 views

Does two-factor authentication reduce the need for a long password?

I've recently enabled 2-factor auth on a number of web apps, mostly using Google Authenticator. Does this mean that the importance of a strong password on each site is reduced? I would prefer to use ...
14
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4answers
2k views

How to implement non-password authentication in a web site

In an answer to this question about pw reset, D.W. says: Lastly, consider non-password authentication. Passwords have many problems as an authentication mechanism, and you might consider other ...
14
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3answers
208 views

Are malicious relying parties able to abuse OpenID logins?

if I logon with OpenID into a website (crafted by attackers/hackers) I want to know how much damage can they do to me? Are they able to steal my contact info, name, etc (assuming I'm using Gmail ...
14
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2answers
2k views

Hiding user account names from unauthenticated RDP sessions

This is for a Windows 7 Ultimate system, which is not a member of a domain. When I log into the system locally, I am required to either manually enter my user ID or authenticate with biometrics. The ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Should security question answers be case-sensitive?

Question In the case of security questions being used to reset an account password, what is considered best practice for handling case-sensitivity on the security question answers? Scenario An ...
14
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2answers
604 views

How does Windows 8's Microsoft Account authentication work?

One of the new features to Windows 8 is the ability to log in to your PC using your credentials from a Microsoft Account. How is this implemented, and what steps are taken to prevent hijacking of ...
14
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1answer
5k views

Configure SSL Mutual (Two-way) Authentication

A lot of tutorials, a lot of pages, a lot of question and they differ in implementation of this issue "Configure SSL Mutual (Two-way) Authentication". I have to do it with Linux, and I don't know from ...
14
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2answers
388 views

Which factors should I consider for devices that accept handwritten digital signatures?

These days many locations ask you to give your signature on a digital signature pad/device. As I am situated in Europe, the EU directive 1999/93/EC seems to regulate it. From what I have found out ...
14
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1answer
2k views

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 ...
13
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9answers
698 views

Anybody have additional information on the EMC RSA SecurID compromise?

The Security Advisory Press Release here doesn't have much information, the email that alerted me to this didn't help much more, and unfortunately I heard about the two Thursday evening conference ...
13
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8answers
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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 ...
13
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5answers
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How should passwords be stored if they must be recoverable?

By "encrypting" passwords you are violating CWE-257: Storing Passwords in a Recoverable Format. But this is exactly what the French government wants. They want to be able to obtain the passwords of ...