Security through obscurity means relying on the secrecy of the design of a system to keep it secure. Kerchkoff's principle states that the security of a system should not rely only on obscurity.

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104
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8answers
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My school wants to keep the details of our door authentication system a secret. Is that a good idea?

So, I am designing a door authentication system (can't really go into more detail) for our school, so that only authenticated persons can go through a certain internal door. They hold that its inner ...
92
votes
15answers
6k views

At what point does something count as 'security through obscurity'?

So, I keep finding the conventional wisdom that 'security through obscurity is no security at all', but I'm having the (perhaps stupid) problem of being unable to tell exactly when something is 'good ...
81
votes
8answers
16k views

How would one crack a weak but unknown encryption protocol?

I was reading this interesting question: Is my developer's home-brew password security right or wrong, and why? It shows a weak home-brew algorithm developed by "Dave", and the answers discuss ...
75
votes
14answers
8k views

How to store passwords written on a physical notebook?

Answers to the question "How safe are password managers like LastPass?" suggest that storing personal passwords on a physical notebook might be a reasonable option: I know someone who won't use ...
43
votes
4answers
9k views

Is publishing your public IP address a security threat?

I work for a large-ish company (thousands of employees across multiple locations). I recently needed to know what the possible public IP addresses are, so that a vendor could identify us (presumably ...
43
votes
7answers
8k views

Is suggesting a correct url in a 404 page bad practice?

I'm currently writing a web application, and my client asked me if it would be possible to suggest a valid URL to the user when they accidentally write a typo in the URL bar, an example of this would ...
39
votes
6answers
5k views

Is a website published in an obscure directory comparably secure to being placed behind a login? [duplicate]

Let's say I create a microsite for a client that contains confidential business information. We need to place this in a location the client can access, in order for them to approve for launch. If we ...
37
votes
9answers
2k views

Use additional “password” in Referer to hide private site?

I have a private (= I'm the only user) site at example.com/private/. Nothing else is published at this host (it's my domain). I don't want anyone to know that there is anything at example.com, ...
34
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3answers
2k views

The valid role of obscurity

That security through obscurity is A Bad Thing is received wisdom and dogma in information security. Telling people why something is to be avoided can be considerably more difficult when there is no ...
33
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8answers
4k views

Isn't all security “through obscurity”?

I know that one shouldn't rely on "obscurity" for their security. For example, choosing a non-standard port is not really security, but it also doesn't usually hurt to do so (and may help mitigate ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it okay to reveal database's table names?

I'm developing web application that uses database. I have to do some operations which needs database table names and db table schema. Will it be secure if I send this kind of information to client ...
29
votes
3answers
15k views

How risky is connecting to a hidden wireless network?

According to something I spotted something in a set of directions for connecting to a hidden wireless network from windows 8 found here (located under Step 1 > "Troubleshoot connection problems" > ...
28
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5answers
4k views

How valuable is secrecy of an algorithm?

On the surface, the inadvisability of security through obscurity is directly at odds with the concept of shared secrets (i.e. "passwords"). Which is to say: if secrecy around passwords is valuable, ...
26
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7answers
4k views

Does username length/complexity/uniqueness positively impact security?

Is having a longer/more complex username considered more secure than using a shorter/basic one? Would the uniqueness of a username positively impact security? This is assuming that adversaries ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Why do “Forgotten Password?” links generally reveal usernames or registered email addresses? [duplicate]

It seems that most sites or systems will just state Invalid username or password As a means to not reveal usernames for use in brute force (and other) attacks. Seems like a good idea as a ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

NSA Suite A Cryptography: Security through obscurity?

What is the opinion of scholars, cryptographers on NSA Suite A? Containing unpublished algorithms. Could it really be that much better than the published algorithms besides being obscure and not ...
20
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5answers
2k views

Why is security through obscurity not a good option for encryption? [duplicate]

I feel like there must be a simple explanation, but I've been looking around haven't found any wholesome answers. Take for example my name is Alice and my best friend Bob and we want to communicate ...
20
votes
3answers
968 views

Should Stack Exchange be more obscure in its systems' structure?

I've noticed that Stack Exchange always reveals the detailed structure of its servers and systems (see these blog posts). And also the exact results of their tests and points of weakness (see the old ...
19
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5answers
1k views

Is it alright to tell everyone your encryption information?

I have an account in an online banking system and they have the FAQ with something like this: How secure is the <Online Banking System Name>? Each page you view and any information ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Use of obscure URL for security [duplicate]

My hosting provider is offering an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) product administered via a web interface, where the administrator can create and destroy virtual machines. To access the ...
16
votes
4answers
7k views

Processor microcode manipulation to change opcodes?

I had recently thought of an extreme way of implementing security by obscurity and wanted to ask you guys if it's possible. Would a person with no access to special processor documentation be able ...
13
votes
9answers
849 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Is Skype secure enough to transmit passwords?

Is it considered "secure" to send a password in a skype message and delete the message after the recipient remembered the password?
10
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4answers
933 views

How to define security requirements to ensure that developers… do not provide security by obscurity?

I tried to explain that security by obscurity should not be used but let's say I was challenged! I received the answer to list the known security by obscurity that I know, as a kind of bad practice ...
8
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6answers
2k views

Why do we keep our keys secret, rather than our algorithms? [duplicate]

On almost any website that relates information about cryptography in general there is this common notion that almost all encryption/decryption algorithms should use a key as one of their inputs. The ...
8
votes
4answers
419 views

Will passphrases always be secure?

In a world where most people used passphrases instead of passwords, wouldn't an attack that generates a random string of words (alternating between word delimiters) be similarly effective to a brute ...
8
votes
1answer
141 views

Do large online software companies limit employee access to company information?

I've been wondering about how large online software companies, specifically those based around a single massive product, like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, etc. handle the risk of terminated employees. Any ...
7
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5answers
1k views

Which graphic image formats contain revision history? Does the image editing software being used matter?

It's common knowledge among graphic designers that they can rename a PDF file and import it into Illustrator and access the "layers" within the document, revealing hidden information. I don't know ...
7
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3answers
155 views

Risk of running services on ports >1024

In a Reddit thread on securing SSH access to a Raspberry Pi, one commenter recommended running SSH on a non-standard port of 8123. Another commenter had this to say on the matter: Don't change ...
6
votes
5answers
686 views

Hiding version - valuable or just security by obscurity?

Many automatic security scanners have built in rules that alert on the presence of software version, and in many security lists version exposure to arbitrary person accessing the system is mentioned ...
6
votes
1answer
165 views

Database table name prefixes and security by obscurity

One of the most common pieces of advice with respect to securing WordPress, Magento, and other widely-used pieces of software is to add a prefix to database table names or change the default prefix. ...
5
votes
5answers
242 views

Is there any security value of creatively naming folders containing sensitive files?

A friend of mine asked me if he could sign his tax returns without printing them out. While helping him, he insisted on naming the folder containing images of his signature and initials a completely ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

Is reskinning work computer desktops a practical security measure?

Recently, I opened a new checking account a national US bank. The branch of this bank was very modern, and they even had a wall of screens behind the teller's desk. When I was meeting with an advisor ...
5
votes
1answer
325 views

Can wildcard certificates hide/obscure the hostname in a TLS connection?

I'm trying to increase security for my cloud-based / multi-tenant environment. I'm considering having clients access an obscure URL such as GUID.myCloud.com. I will then respond to that guid-based ...
5
votes
1answer
684 views

What unique fingerprinting information can an iOS7 app collect?

I'm interested in unique information that is beyond typical user knowledge or control. As of iOS 7, users can easily protect local physical tracking by controlling radios (cell, WiFi, Bluetooth) in ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Session Hijacking through sessionId brute-forcing possible?

cookies usually contain a sessionId to keep track of a logged user. What would prevent a malicious user to forge millions of requests with random sessionIds and send them to a server, hoping to ...
4
votes
2answers
530 views

How do I remove or anonymize file names and path that are stored in compiled .NET exe output?

When an exception occurs in a .NET application, the exception output also includes the path and file name of the code file that resided on the developer's machine. This shares some information that ...
3
votes
4answers
979 views

Detecting and filtering data over AC power lines?

Given that it's possible for the average consumer to send covert signals over normal AC lines how can an IT department identify and filter out this communication? I'm not sure how difficult this is ...
3
votes
4answers
726 views

Demonstration of how security through obscurity fails to work

I need to demonstrate that security through obscurity fails twice in the following scenario. I've a secret KEY. User A gets MessageX = SecretTransformation(KEY, SecretValue1); User B gets MessageY ...
3
votes
4answers
242 views

Is changing default admin URLs an effective security measure?

Consider WordPress, which houses all of its admin functions in the /wp-admin/ directory. Accordingly, its admin URLs all begin with /wp-admin/. I'm wondering if it would be significantly more secure ...
3
votes
2answers
72 views

Is hashing schema information for client when generating SQL queries more secure?

I'm planning to implement a web system wherein APIs and presentation for CRUD in data tables are automatically generated, like that in phpMyAdmin. How I plan to implement this is to construct SQL ...
3
votes
1answer
62 views

Increased security from separating username and login name?

I seen this question: Does username length/complexity positively impact security? which got me thinking about usernames/passwords from a developer-aspect. If a developer for an application were to ...
2
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3answers
3k views

Purpose of using base64 encoded urls

I have come across a website, freshbooks.com, which uses base64 encoded urls for all purposes, ranging from POSTing sensitive data to a URI or just viewing some resource. For instance, a url to view ...
2
votes
1answer
150 views

Security of mainframes?

I am very intrigued as to how mainframes seem to be much more secure than the servers. Malware targeted are mainframes are very rare. It is due to security through obscurity? Since few people have ...
2
votes
1answer
151 views

Extended Basic Authentication

I would like to implement a REST API with Basic Authentication which relies on username and password. Because REST is stateless the user would have to reenter username and password for every request ...
2
votes
0answers
169 views

What unique device fingerprinting information can an iOS9 app collect?

As a follow-on to these questions: What unique fingerprinting information can an iOS7 app collect? What unique device fingerprinting information can an iOS8 app collect? Apple has apparently ...
2
votes
2answers
517 views

Teamviewer Security Question [closed]

Currently we are using Teamviewer 9. We have a couple of desktop machines that are locked down in the following manner: 1). The shell is no longer explorer.exe, it is a custom program we have ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

Are there any security benefits in deleting the private key of a https webserver after starting it?

Say you have a web server offering pages via HTTPS. After the process begins running, if you were to delete the private key, would this prevent private key recovery in case of server compromise? ...
1
vote
1answer
498 views

What is the best practice to save encryption and decryption method in an application?

Almost all the application regardless of their nature and purpose are using encryption to secure sensitive data to be saved to database, if the user using a method to encrypt a file (for instance an ...
1
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4answers
12k views

blocking direct access to files via url input while still allowing a script on server to access files

I am trying to accomplish the following and have been unsuccessful. I would appreciate any insight. Scenario: http://www.mydomain.com/filename.html is a webpage. On this webpage I am running a ...