The functions performed by the person or processes responsible for security of passwords on a given system.

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434
votes
22answers
92k views

How does changing your password every 90 days increase security?

Where I work I'm forced to change my password every 90 days. This security measure has been in place in many organizations for as long as I can remember. Is there a specific security vulnerability ...
218
votes
7answers
43k views

What's the rationale behind Ctrl-Alt-Del for login

Why is Ctrl+Alt+Del required at login on certain Windows systems (I have not seen it elsewhere, but contradict me if I'm wrong) before the password can be typed in? From a usability point of view, it'...
99
votes
14answers
18k views

Why did customer services say using symbols in a password is insecure?

I am using an online service that I recently had to reset my password because I forgot it. When I went to change password I wanted to use one with a symbol !@£$%^&*(). When I clicked "confirm ...
88
votes
9answers
78k views

How safe are password managers like LastPass?

I use LastPass to store and use my passwords, so I do not have duplicate passwords even if I have to register four to five different accounts a day, and the passwords are long. How safe are password ...
88
votes
6answers
5k views

Should passwords be automatically reset when the underlying method changes

I'm currently an engineer on a project in development phase. One 'module' on this project gives the ability for user authentication/authorization. However it's come to our concern that the password ...
84
votes
8answers
17k views

If a provider sees the last 4 characters of my password, can they see it in full?

I have some domains/websites as well as emails with Bluehost. Every time I need support, they need the last 4 characters of my main password for the account. They cannot tell me how they store the ...
80
votes
14answers
11k views

How can I protect myself from false accusations when our company practices password escrow?

During an internship for a small company, my boss created an account for me, so I generated a password and I used it. The next day, my boss told me to write down the password of my account on a piece ...
79
votes
8answers
11k views

Can anyone provide references for implementing web application self password reset mechanisms properly?

We are implementing self password reset on a web application, and I know how I want to do it (email time limited password reset URL to users pre-registered email address). My problem is that I can'...
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 ...
72
votes
10answers
12k views

If I enter a password on the wrong site, should I consider it compromised?

I have recently started to make use of a password manager and good password practices. I have a different password for each site that I use. If I accidentally use the password from another site when ...
66
votes
2answers
78k views

How difficult to crack keepass master password?

How easily could someone crack my keepass .kdbx file if that person steals the file but never obtains the Master Password? Is this a serious threat, or would a brute force attack require massive ...
65
votes
3answers
21k views

How can I create a password that says “SALT ME!” when hashed?

How can I create a password, which when directly hashed (without any salt) with md5 will return a string containing the 8 characters "SALT ME!". The hope is that a naive developer browsing through his ...
64
votes
12answers
14k views

What to do about websites that store plain text passwords

I recently received an email from a popular graduate job web site (prospects.ac.uk) that I haven't used in a while suggesting I use a new feature. It contained both my username and password in plain ...
62
votes
8answers
7k views

Is it OK to tell your password to your company's sysadmin?

I'm working in a small company (20 employees) as a senior software engineer. After having problems with my email, our newly employed IT administrator asked me to write my user password to someone in ...
61
votes
8answers
14k views

Is it safe to send clear usernames/passwords on a https connection to authenticate users?

I'm setting up a home HTTP server which can send and receive JSON data to/from different clients (Android and iPhone apps). I'd like to allow access only to certain users and I'm considering using a ...
56
votes
12answers
4k views

How do you log in from an unsecured computer?

Suppose that you are on a cybercafe, at a friend's home or at your work office, and you need to log in on a site, but you feel that the the computer can not be trusted (e.g. your friend isn't tech-...
54
votes
9answers
22k views

Why Disallow Special Characters In a Password?

The culprit in this case is a particular (and particularly large) bank that does not allow special characters (of any sort) in their passwords: Just [a-Z 1-9]. Is their any valid reason for doing ...
51
votes
8answers
4k views

I'm an IT consultant. Should I discourage a client from telling me his password?

I'm an IT consultant. One client has known me for a few years. He wants me to do some work on his kids' laptop again. I'll need to log into his kids' Windows user account. (I'm guessing that multiple ...
49
votes
4answers
3k views

How to implement “forgot password” functionality?

For my project I need a "change password" functionality. I am not quite sure how to implement this kind of functionality yet so I was hoping to find some "best practice" on the internet but couldn't ...
48
votes
7answers
3k views

Do security questions subvert passwords?

Do security questions subvert hard to crack passwords? For example, if a site requires passwords with a certain scheme (length + required character sets) and has a security question, why would someone ...
47
votes
9answers
6k views

Can users make use of a password manager when banks tell them never to write passwords down?

Consider a user who wants to use a password manager for their banking passwords. Advice from banks usually says they should never write down their password. The user would be concerned about going ...
43
votes
4answers
3k views

Is using bcrypt on existing SHA1 hashes good enough when switching password implementation?

I'm working on improving a CMS where the current implementation of storing password is just sha1(password). I explained to my boss that doing it that way is incredibly insecure, and told him that we ...
41
votes
10answers
7k views

What type of pattern should I use for my passwords?

I have a lot of accounts and until some time ago I used an universal password for all of them. Right now I have a different password for every account depending on the website name that I am logging ...
41
votes
4answers
6k views

Why would a website that resets your password to one of their choice be considered a plain text offender?

What's wrong with generating a password for you without storing it? Like why is MasterCard on the plain text offenders list?
41
votes
7answers
34k views

Is saving passwords in Chrome as safe as using LastPass if you leave it signed in?

Justin Schuh defended Google's reasoning in the wake of this post detailing the "discovery" (sic) that passwords saved in the Chrome password manager can be viewed in plaintext. Let me just directly ...
40
votes
7answers
3k views

“Real” Salt and “Fake” Salt

During a Q&A period at DEFCON this year, one member of the audience mentioned that we're using "fake salt" when concatenating a random value and a password before hashing. He defined "real salt" ...
39
votes
10answers
4k views

Is there a method of generating site-specific passwords which can be executed in my own head?

I was thinking recently about password security. My goal is to have mostly random passwords, that are different for each site. But you also should be able to remember them (or re-generate them) ...
38
votes
10answers
5k views

Is there any point in using 'strong' passwords?

Let's say I'm setting up a new account on a website. Should I bother using a strong password? My reasoning is this: Password strength is a rough measure of how long it would take to brute-force my ...
38
votes
8answers
7k views

Is “different usernames” as good as “different passwords”

The answers to this question, and the associated xkcd got me wondering: if I use different account names in every service, then can I use the same hard-to-crack password in each? I'm thinking that ...
38
votes
6answers
5k views

How can a system enforce a minimum number of changed characters in passwords, without storing or processing old passwords in cleartext?

In some environments, it is required that users change a certain number of characters every time they create a new password. This is of course to prevent passwords from being easily-guessable, ...
38
votes
10answers
8k views

How can I securely check if a username exists?

I'm working on the onboarding functionality of my web app and at some point I'm asking a new user to choose a username. When the user gets to this point, I have his/her email and a cellphone number ...
37
votes
8answers
8k views

How to securely ask for passwords of customer as consultancy firm?

In my work as a developer, I need username/password combo's from the customer sometimes to make sure the settings on 3rd party services are correct to work with the website/application we are building....
37
votes
9answers
4k 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 ...
36
votes
4answers
4k views

Avast AV could read Firefox saved passwords

My friend uses Firefox's built-in password manager feature to save passwords for sites. Later, after installing Avast Free Antivirus there was a feature called Passwords on the Avast UI. When accessed ...
36
votes
3answers
2k views

Am I wrong to believe that passwords should never be recoverable (one way hash)?

I recently forgot my password for our cable provider online account, only to discover that they sent it to us via plain text in an email. I quickly sent an email to customer support asking them if ...
36
votes
2answers
6k views

Are there more modern password hashing methods than bcrypt and scrypt?

This question made me start thinking about password hashing again. I currently use bcrypt (specifically py-bcrypt). I've heard a lot about PBKDF2, and scrypt. What I'm wondering is if there are any "...
35
votes
4answers
14k views

How can I be sure Lastpass really can't access my passwords?

The recent, widely publicized security incident where millions of Linkedin were exposed reminded me to tighten up my password practices. I'm looking at several password managers now and I'm especially ...
32
votes
3answers
6k views

Is using the username encrypted with the password as key a good password storage scheme?

On web applications I build I don't hash the passwords. Instead I symmetrically encrypt the username using the user's password and store the result in the password field. I use RijndaelManaged on ...
31
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it common practice to log rejected passwords?

While selecting unique passwords for each purpose is a great idea, in practice this rarely happens. Therefore many select passwords from a personal pool of passwords that are easily remembered. When ...
31
votes
4answers
6k views

What should be used as a salt?

I always hear that it is best to use salts on top of stored passwords, which then somehow gets concatenated and hashed afterwards. But I don't know what to use as a the salt. What would be a good salt?...
30
votes
8answers
5k views

Why would salt not have prevented LinkedIn passwords from getting cracked?

In this interview posted on Krebs on Security, this question was asked and answered: BK: I’ve heard people say, you know this probably would not have happened if LinkedIn and others had salted ...
29
votes
4answers
8k views

Does the average user really need a password manager?

I'd describe myself as an average tech savvy computer user. I have many accounts in forums, shopping sites, etc where I recycle two moderately strong password with small variation. These are account ...
29
votes
3answers
6k views

Password manager vs remembering passwords

I have always thought that you are not supposed to use a password manager but to keep your passwords in your head, but lately I have thought about the pros and cons of having a password manager. Some ...
28
votes
6answers
15k views

Sharing wifi at a business - Bad Policy?

Is it safe for a small business to let customers use their wifi while waiting? My friend is starting up a small dentistry practice (1 dentist), and I'm setting up his computers/wifi as a favor. He'...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Best way to administer all my passwords

I am trying to figure out what the best solution is to store different types of passwords: Personal passwords (my personal email, my company's email, all the services I use to buy things like ...
27
votes
2answers
1k views

Does versioning an encrypted file make it less secure?

Suppose I use KeePassX as a password manager, and I store the kdb file in Sparkleshare folder as a way for backing up and syncing with multiple devices. The kdb file in itself would be encrypted, but ...
26
votes
3answers
6k views

Security of LastPass together with YubiKey

I'm looking at password manager solutions and came across LastPass. I see that they also support two-factor authentication using YubiKeys. How secure is this combination for password management? What ...
25
votes
7answers
9k views

Why don't people hash and salt usernames before storing them

Everyone knows that if they have a system that requires a password to log in, they should be storing a hashed & salted copy of the required password, rather than the password in plaintext. What I ...
25
votes
6answers
5k views

Source code as password

Passwords with a mixture of letters, numbers, and special characters are sometimes hard to remember. Is it secure to instead use a small amount of memorable source code as a 'passphrase'? As an ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

Do spaces in a passphrase really add any more security/entropy?

I often see passphrase suggestions written as a sentence, with spaces. In that format are they more susceptible to a dictionary attack because each word is on it's own as opposed to a large unbroken ...