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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4answers
564 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 ...
21
votes
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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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?
21
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4answers
6k 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 ...
21
votes
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 ...
20
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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
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
20
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5answers
3k 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 ...
20
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4answers
9k 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 ...
20
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7answers
1k views

If I include a Forgot Password service, then what's the point of using a password?

I've implemented a Forgot Password service in the following way: User goes to login page, clicks on "Forgot password?" User is presented with a form that asks for their email address. Email is sent ...
20
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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 ...
19
votes
9answers
820 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
votes
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. ...
19
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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 ...
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
votes
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
votes
5answers
956 views

Good session practices

What are some good practices for ensuring logins, session IDs and session content are secure for a website?
18
votes
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 ...
18
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
18
votes
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
votes
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
votes
3answers
376 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
608 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, ...
18
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
17
votes
9answers
3k views

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
votes
6answers
3k 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
965 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
votes
4answers
846 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
votes
4answers
859 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
16
votes
11answers
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 ...
16
votes
7answers
966 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)?
16
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5answers
2k views

How many Stack Exchange logins should I have?

On Stack Exchange's Add a login page, one can add logins with Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc. How many logins should I have to provide the least chance of a hacker gaining access to my Stack Exchange ...
16
votes
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 ...
16
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
847 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
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
1k 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) ...
16
votes
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 ...
15
votes
9answers
3k 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
votes
6answers
957 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
votes
5answers
820 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
62k views

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 ...
15
votes
5answers
777 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.) ...
15
votes
4answers
514 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
437 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
253 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 ...
15
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1answer
80k 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?