In computing, entropy is the randomness collected by an operating system or application for use in cryptography or other uses that require random data. This randomness is often collected from hardware sources, either pre-existing ones such as mouse movements or specially provided randomness ...

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XKCD #936: Short complex password, or long dictionary passphrase?

How accurate is this XKCD comic from August 10, 2011? I've always been an advocate of long rather than complex passwords, but most security people (at least the ones that I've talked to) are ...
57
votes
12answers
9k views

How reliable is a password strength checker?

I've tested the tool from Microsoft available here which tests password strength and rates them. For a password such as "i am going to have lunch tonight", the tool rates it's strength as "BEST" and ...
42
votes
38answers
8k views

What is your way to create good passwords that can actually be remembered?

What are the methodologies which can be used to generate "human" good quality password? They have to ensure a good strength and also easy to remember for a human being.
35
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9answers
3k views

Why do password strength requirements exist?

Password strength is now everything, and they force you to come up with passwords with digits, special characters, upper-case letters and whatnot. Apart from being a usability nightmare (even I as a ...
35
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9answers
9k views

How long should the password be?

The minimum password length recommended is about 8 characters, so is there any standard/recommended maximum length of the password?
30
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5answers
2k views

Are there any guidelines for passwords that need to be read out loud?

I recently saw the movie Olympus Has Fallen. Like in many action movies, at the end a missile is launched, and the hero (Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler) has 60 seconds to recall the launch in ...
23
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11answers
4k views

One liner to create passwords in linux?

How do you create a readable password using bash with one line? What if i'm looking for 128 bits of entropy? EDIT By readable I mean the 94 printable ascii characters (without space). It can use ...
23
votes
3answers
5k views

Is it appropriate to use haveged as a source of entropy on virtual machines?

While looking for solutions to entropy pool depletion on virtual machines, I came across an interesting project called haveged, which is based on the HAVEGE algorithm (HArdware Volatile Entropy ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

How can we accurately measure a password entropy range?

I've given myself the task of writing code that determines the strength of a password, and really want to break out of a lot of already established ways we do that, as they're often lacking, not ...
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 ...
18
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4answers
1k views

In hashing, does it matter how random a salt is?

I recently had a comment made to me in an online discussion after I'd stated that randomness in a salt doesn't matter -- and I got the following response: Salts may not have to be "secure," but ...
17
votes
2answers
600 views

How do I ensure there is sufficient entropy on an embedded system at first boot?

I'm working on an embedded system that will generate an SSL key the first time the system boots. I would like to avoid the problems discovered by Heninger et al. and Lenstra et al. where embedded ...
16
votes
4answers
7k views

Confused about (password) entropy

There seem to be many different 'kinds' of entropy. I've come across two different concepts: A) The XKCD example of 'correcthorsebatterystaple". It has 44 bits of entropy because four words randomly ...
16
votes
2answers
496 views

What statistics can be used to identify pseudorandom data?

I'm working on some code that attempts to identify files whose contents appear to be "random". As such, I'm looking for statistical measures that can be used to identify such randomness. I've ...
15
votes
2answers
845 views

How does varying character type increase strength of password?

When creating a new password, people often recommend you use both uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols. How does adding any of these increase the strength of a password? There ...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

Can a dictionary attack crack a Diceware passphrase?

Everyone knows the words used in Diceware passwords (all 6^5 = 7776 words are published) -- they're all common words. Everyone seems to know that we're not supposed to use dictionary words for ...
15
votes
3answers
613 views

If I have two identical linux virtual machine images, will they generate identical random numbers?

A really noob question, I know, but something I was wondering about this morning. If this were the case, would they encrypt things identically? Or maybe someone could direct me to a helpful research ...
14
votes
6answers
701 views

Is there additional security value in using passwords with words or phrases in non-English languages?

I was thinking about correct horse battery staple. I am not a native English speaker. In my language, the above could be written as: vqrno kon bateriq telbod OR вярно кон батерия телбод. Keep in ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there some good papers (or discussions) on using Markov chains or Hidden Markov Models for password auditing/cracking?

As a programmer and language enthusiast I've been very interested in Markov chains for some time. Considering the influence of natural language on password and passphrase selection (by humans of ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Is a predictable MAC address a risk?

If you knew from the public internet that a certain IP address belonged to a machine with a certain MAC address, can you see any security exposure associated with that? I know that some software will ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Evaluating the entropy gathering in a PRNG

I'm reviewing the random number generator (expected to be of cryptographic quality) on an embedded device. My point of view here is the operating system and crypto library implementer. I'm ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Is an 80 bit password good enough for all practical purposes?

I know that asking how many bits of entropy comprise a strong password is rather like asking the length of a piece of string. But assuming the NSA is not on to you, and that it is hardly worthwhile ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Why OpenSSL can't use /dev/random directly?

I couldn't find the answer for the reason anywhere, even the wiki page doesn't explain it. This seems like using a PRNG for seeding an another PRNG. The first one (/dev/random) may itself be seeded by ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Why are passwords limited to 16 characters?

What is the reason that most websites limit to 16 characters? I would have thought the longer the password the more difficult it makes it for someone to crack it? Is it something to do with hash ...
11
votes
3answers
760 views

Does the salt need to be unique or not predictable?

I always thought that salts is simply used to prevent rainbow tables to be used. Other have suggest they should be unique on a per account basis. Currently i have been using a config file to use as ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Is there a length beyond which increasing password length provides no additional security?

Assuming that the password is stored hashed and salted, and that it is a string of random characters, is there a point where adding to password length doesn't add security? Since the hash will have a ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Java SecureRandom doesn't block? How?

I know from experience that reading from /dev/random blocks when the Linux kernel entropy pool runs out of entropy. Also, I've seen many articles and blog entries stating that when running on Linux, ...
10
votes
1answer
215 views

Where does a Hyper-V guest get its entropy when generating a certificate authority key pair?

According to findings by the EFF's SSL observatory, there are "tens of thousands of keys that offer effectively no security due to weak random number generation algorithm." My understanding of that ...
9
votes
2answers
564 views

Can I use hardware random number generation on my computer? Am I already using it?

A lot of computer security depends on encryption: SSL connections, TCP packet sequencing, encrypted files, etc. These depend on random number generation to ensure that attackers can't guess the ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How can a passphrase with 256 bits of entropy practically be constructed & memorized?

Quoting Wikipedia: A password with, say, 42 bits of strength calculated in this way would be as strong as a string of 42 bits chosen randomly[.] Assuming that interpretation is correct, combined ...
8
votes
1answer
359 views

General purpose slow/unique hash routine for dup checking of private data, without storing the data itself?

I am wondering if there is a percentage of uniqueness known to be lost with every repeat of various hash routines, like MD5, SHA1, and how that might compare with other algorithms. If theoretically I ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Password entropy in layman's terms

Entropy is a term used often in relation to password security and brute-force attacks, but it is a topic that can get complicated quickly. What is the best way to describe password entropy (what it is ...
6
votes
6answers
2k views

Does having a minimum number of digits improve password security?

Some password systems will enforce at least X of a type of character - a common one I see is 'minimum 3 numeric characters'. As far as I understand, simply allowing certain character classes, like ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

For how much time should I randomly move the mouse for generating encryption keys?

When creating a Truecrypt volume, there is the wizard page in which the user is told to randomly move the mouse (the longer the better) to generate entropy, and that it will significantly increase the ...
6
votes
3answers
846 views

password complexity policy for non “English” passwords

In an internationalized application, what is the best practice for a policy on complexity of passwords? I am not having luck searching for the answer. Wikipedia lists these items for password ...
6
votes
2answers
806 views

How should I make diceware passphrases more memorable?

I find that truly random diceware passphrase, more often than not, either contain a word that is easily misspelled or has an order that is illogical. I think there are three ways to make a diceware ...
6
votes
2answers
754 views

How is the available entropy in /dev/random calculated (or estimated)?

It seems (to a non-expert) that /dev/random is acclaimed to be useable as a source of pure random data. However, I am curious as to the analysis of the file /dev/random. /dev/random is a collection ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Calculating complex password entropy?

Whenever I look at password entropy, the only equation I ever see is E = log2(R)*L, or alternatively E = log2(R^L), where E is password entropy, R is the range of available characters, and L is the ...
4
votes
3answers
882 views

Pseudo Random Generator is not initialized from the (entropy pool)?

The RHEL5 manuals state that /dev/urandom will use the entropy pool until it's exhausted, and then it will resort to a fall-back pseudo-random algorithm, so that it will never block. But when ...
4
votes
2answers
281 views

How can I create a secure password?

I know the standard tricks, create a long password, numbers, symbols, capital letters, etc. My questions is how do I judge password security. I heard different tricks to make secure passwords. For ...
4
votes
2answers
172 views

Does adding a non-entropic part to a password makes it less secure?

Suppose I'm encrypting a file via AES using a password of my choice, or creating a TrueCrypt volume using a password and no keyfiles. Which of the following two passwords would be more secure: ...
4
votes
1answer
59 views

Soundness of GRC.com Haystack padding concept [duplicate]

I was wondering how sound is the concept presented by the Gibson Research Corporation (see below if you do not want to follow the link) about simple passwords (= very easy to remember) with the ...
4
votes
3answers
254 views

What would the cryptographic impact be of knowing the output of /dev/urandom?

Another noob question, I know, but something I'm unsure about. If I somehow magically knew the output of /dev/urandom at any given time, how much would that weaken a given encryption system? Or, ...
3
votes
2answers
308 views

Computing entropy for a passphrase ( minimal word length … )

Edit: 2013-05-17 . 2013-05-27 After reading first answer from Tom Leek and some docs around the web, I've begin to write some options to my tool genpassphrase.pl: $ ./genpassphrase.pl -h Usage: ...
3
votes
2answers
277 views

Is it really “Time to add a word” if there are no tools to crack passphrases of 3 words and up?

It's "time to add a word" says Arnold Reinhold, the creator of Diceware, in his blog (3/2014). He advices to use 6 word sentences (or 5 words with one extra character chosen and placed at random) from ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I measure (and increase) entropy on Mac OS X?

I'd like to generate a bunch of keys for long term storage on my MacBook. What's a good way to: measure the amount of entropy and ensure it is sufficient before each key is generated, and ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

/dev/random security holes

I'm doing some reading into the security issues surrounding /dev/random but it's proving to be hard to find good sources of information. Can anybody help? I've asked Google and got a bunch of articles ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Reliable random seed for RNG

I want to create my computer passwords with a RNG, but I am thinking about one thing: I would use python to write that script and the RNG is controlled by one seed, most likely the time. If I would ...
3
votes
1answer
370 views

How genuine are password entropy calculations?

I apologise for perhaps the confusing title, I'll try and elaborate a little better. Many discussions I see surrounding password entropy focus on the specific context of the range of choices ...
3
votes
2answers
296 views

Credit card number entropy?

I want to confirm that this understanding is correct: A card has 16 digits plus a CV2 The first 6 digits are an issuer identification number The last digit of the 16 is a Luhn mod 10 check digit. ...