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

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275
votes
20answers
45k 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 ...
154
votes
7answers
26k 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, ...
64
votes
8answers
7k 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 ...
53
votes
3answers
18k 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 ...
53
votes
12answers
3k 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 ...
49
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
46
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
45
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
44
votes
11answers
7k 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 ...
42
votes
9answers
5k 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 ...
42
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
41k 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 ...
36
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" ...
35
votes
10answers
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 ...
34
votes
9answers
35k 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 ...
32
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
32
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 ...
31
votes
6answers
3k 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, ...
31
votes
9answers
2k 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) ...
30
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
29
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
25
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
24
votes
10answers
5k views

Intel How Strong is Your Password page, good advice?

I came across this Intel How Strong is Your Password? page which estimates how strong your password is. It has some advice on choosing better passwords including that you should use multiple ...
24
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 ...
23
votes
6answers
10k 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. ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

Juggling bus factor & separation of duties on a small team?

I am lead dev on a team of five people. Only three are coders. And only the coders are really technical enough to do a roll-out of our application to a production server. Our app is pretty ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Webmail host knows my password

I forgot the password to a webmail account and they didn't have an automated password recovery process. So I had to chat with their support and they asked a few verification questions then proceeded ...
22
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it possible to increase the cost of BCrypt or PBKDF2 when its already calculated and without the original password?

I just wanted to know if you can increase the cost (iterations) of those two algorithms off-line. I want to increase the cost every year of my users passwords. One solution is to recalculate them ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the point of hashing passwords?

Even when following strict security protocols, and what the user typed is (in this hypothetical situation) completely impossible to derive, the key that the server needs to compare to is still there. ...
20
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
20
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
votes
4answers
3k views

The registration confirmation email contains my password: do they keep it in plaintext?

I was kind of shocked when I just received my confirmation mail from the shop where I just registered myself: they sent my username (which is my email address) and the password I typed in. The ...
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
4answers
4k views

Should I use FileZilla?

Recently, an increasing number of people have started advising moving away from FileZilla. However, the only reason I can see for this is that FileZilla stores the connection information in a ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

How to avoid scripts with hardcoded password? [duplicate]

I have some scripts on Ubuntu Linux machine that logs in to a database server to run some maintenance daily. To login to the database, I need a password and right now it is hardcoded in the script. ...
18
votes
9answers
4k views

Password Management within an Organisation

Within an organisation there are many passwords such as those for root accounts on servers, hosting accounts, router logins and other such things, that need to be kept track of. I know in some ...
18
votes
1answer
816 views

Does a maximum length of password mean non-hashed storage?

When a system requires a password between say 6 and 20 characters in length, does it mean the password is stored without using a hashing function, and that the mysql-field (or similar) is 20 ...
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 ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Are passwords in memory?

I have an encrypted HDD (dm_crypt). That's why I store my passwords in a simple text file. I usually copy/paste the passwords from it. Ok! Q: If I open this text file then it goes into the memory. So ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Hash function change

I have user account passwords stored in a database using an unsafe (old) cryptographic hash function. What is the best/usual approach to changing password hash function? Only two ideas come to my ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

Security of LastPass + YubiKey

I'm looking at password manager solutions and came across LastPass. I see they also support two-factor authentication using YubiKeys. How secure is this combination for password management? What are ...
16
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
563 views

Bank accepts different password to the one that I set

I'm not particularly well versed in IT security so please bear with me. I recently discovered that my bank's online system will accept passwords that consist of the correct password, and a string of ...
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
444 views

Mitigating the loss of a mobile phone used for second-factor login

Take the following scenario: John is using GMail for his primary email account and LastPass as his password management system. Both of these accounts are using the Google Authenticator mobile ...
15
votes
7answers
661 views

To salt, or not to salt? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is using salt more secure? Why would salt not have prevented LinkedIn passwords from getting cracked? Recently I decided that I wanted to learn more about web ...