A set of requirements regarding password creation, storage, and usage. These requirements often constrain several characteristics of passwords. So, a password policy is a set of rules designed to enhance computer security by encouraging users to employ strong passwords and use them properly.

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456
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14answers
77k views

What technical reasons are there to have low maximum password lengths?

I have always wondered why so many websites have very firm restrictions on password length (exactly 8 characters, up to 8 characters, etc). These tend to be banks or other sites where I actually care ...
191
votes
7answers
40k views

Why would you not permit Q or Z in passwords?

Jetblue's password requirements specify that, among other stringent requirements: Cannot contain a Q or Z I can't fathom a logical reason for this, unless it were say, extremely common for the ...
139
votes
16answers
18k views

Is the BBC’s advice on choosing a password sensible?

In this article on the BBC’s website they offer advice on how to develop a password. The steps are as follows. Step 1: Choose an artist (a recording artist I presume) Lets choose as an example ...
85
votes
8answers
17k views

Why not allow spaces in a password?

"Your password can't contain spaces." is a message I see from some websites, including 1 . Why? (This question is very similar to Why Not Allow Special Characters In a Password? , but the answers ...
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 ...
65
votes
12answers
9k views

Do we really need a long and complicated password for websites?

Most of websites that handle important information (Gmail, for instance) have some kind of brute force protection. Sometimes if you try more than X times it will lock the account or at least give you ...
59
votes
9answers
11k views

Is password reuse a problem if the password is very strong?

I always read that using the same password on multiple sites is a risk. I'm wondering what is the real reason for this? In my case, I use the same password on multiple sites everywhere. My password ...
54
votes
9answers
21k 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 ...
45
votes
7answers
7k views

Do bad passwords produce bad salted hashes?

When you have a password stored in a database that has been strongly hashed and salted does it really matter if the underlying user password is weak? If you setup features like limiting login ...
45
votes
9answers
18k 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?
44
votes
4answers
5k views

Does Microsoft's “Password Ban” list insecurely store user passwords?

Supposedly, Microsoft is banning common passwords, and their list will dynamically update: Microsoft says it is dynamically banning common passwords from Microsoft Account and Azure AD system. ...
40
votes
7answers
33k 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 ...
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 ...
34
votes
8answers
2k views

Who is responsible for the strength of user's passwords?

Who is responsible for a user's password's strength? Is it us (developers, architects, etc.) or the user? As a web developer, I've frequently wondered whether I should enforce the minimal password ...
32
votes
12answers
9k views

Is it acceptable practice to only increment a number when changing a password?

Note: I'm not asking about this password scheme is the best or not (of course it isn't); I'm asking about its theoretical or practical secureness relative to the optimal password scheme based on the ...
32
votes
7answers
5k views

How to prevent username and password matches when changing a username?

Let's say that I have a system where one of the security requirements is preventing users from choosing a password that matches their username. Usernames are not case sensitive but the passwords are. ...
32
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a security reason for a site to limit the number of times a user can change their password?

Is there a security reason to disallow a user to change their password as frequently as they want? I have found this security policy in a site and I am not sure why it is enforcing it. One reason I ...
31
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it safe to show users why their password is not allowed?

/////////////////////////////// Updated Post Below //////////////////////////// This question has received a lot of hits, more than I ever thought it would have on such a basic topic. So, I ...
31
votes
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 ...
31
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the point in having arbitrary username requirements?

I've looked around on Security.SE, but couldn't find much related to the following problem: I recently signed up for Chase Quick Pay as my method of being paid by a part-time job. I've heard of ...
30
votes
6answers
5k views

What is the point of making a complicated PUBLIC password?

I have downloaded a couple of Virtual Machine images from http://modern.ie, in order to test different versions of Internet Explorer. When running these images, a complete Windows environment is ...
30
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
7k views

New payment option on Paypal “Enter your online banking ID + password”: Any mechanism that could make this safe?

Paypal has a new payment option called "Bank Account" which says: Enter your online banking ID + password QUESTION: To me it sounds unsafe (ie: sends my password to a third-party organization ...
28
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it safe to store a password hash history for preventing user to keep same password repeatedly in some cases?

I am developing an application in PHP and it uses bcrypt encryption to store passwords. I want to keep the history of hashes whenever the user changes the password. By doing this I want to stop the ...
27
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. ...
26
votes
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 ...
26
votes
12answers
8k views

How secure are passwords made of whole english sentences

I often read as an advice to build strong passwords, just to think about a sentence and then take the initial letters. For example take a nonsense sentence like "I watch Grey's Anatomy at 9.40" gives ...
26
votes
6answers
4k views

Why do some sites prevent users from reusing their old passwords?

I have always wondered why it is that bad to reuse old passwords; it should not be the end of the world if we happen to use an old password that we previously used. After all, I believe most of the ...
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 ...
25
votes
10answers
6k views

Best password strength checker

In XKCD #936: Short complex password, or long dictionary passphrase? Jeff claimed that password cracking with "dictionary words separated by spaces", or "a complete sentence with punctuation", or ...
24
votes
10answers
7k 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
5answers
1k views

Would turning a Diceware phrase into a sentence decrease its security?

Diceware passphrase lengths are on the rise - up to six or seven words now. The old adage that passphrases are easier to remember may be true for shorter phrases, but six truly random words can be ...
23
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
4k views

Does too long a salt reduce the security of a stored password hash?

Suppose we have passwords that are statistically 7-8 characters long. Is appending a 200 character long salt less secure than a 5 character salt, because of the similar hash function inputs? I was ...
22
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
20
votes
8answers
9k views

On two-step login forms, why is it the login name and not the password that's asked first?

There are several login forms (e.g. Google's) on the internet where you first enter your login name and then, once that's submitted, you get to enter your password. One of the advantages of this is, ...
20
votes
4answers
5k views

Would allowing shorter passwords sometimes be more secure?

Does the act of requiring certain criteria for passwords make them easier to brute-force? It's always seemed to me that when websites limit the use of "insecure" passwords, it might make it easier ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do some bank websites use passwords that are not case sensitive?

It was recently brought to my attention that a certain big bank website allows users to log in with passwords that are not case sensitive. After confirming this, I checked other websites I bank with ...
19
votes
4answers
4k 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
4answers
2k views

My credit union is reducing its maximum password length to 10 characters

I just received an email from my credit union saying they are redesigning their online banking service and that I will need to change my password by October 22 to conform to the new limit of 10 ...
18
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

What chars should I not allow in passwords?

I am planning to develop a website that require that the users register a username and a password. When I let the user choose a password, what chars should I allow the users to have in the password? ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

Aren't password managers still incredibly risky?

I understand the utility in having one application remember a bunch of long, randomized passwords, but all you'd need is one well-placed phishing scam or a keylogger and they get all the keys to the ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Does an *additional* company-wide password offer any real security?

So, let's say a company has what could be referred to as an "access key". Each user has their own username and password, and there is an additional company-wide access key that people must input with ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Why don't we reward users who choose strong passwords? [closed]

Suppose there is a web property that has some sort of reward system or commodity that its users desire. It could be reputation on Stack Exchange-like sites, rank badges on message boards, or add-on ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Are single case alphanumeric passwords the most user friendly?

We are often advised, or required, to compose passwords containing all of the following: numerals, lower case letters, upper case letters and some special characters. In my view this is not the best ...
12
votes
3answers
591 views

Is it inconsistent to tell users to “not click on password links in email”, and requiring clicks on “forgot password” links?

On one hand, IT Security shops have been telling users to not click on links in email because they can do damage to your computer, or phish your personal information. Many of those issues are ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Why will Google no longer allow me to end or begin passwords with a space? [closed]

Why won't Google allow me to use a password ending in a space anymore? Backstory: I have memorized a cipher that allows me to generate a different and very strong password across many different ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Passwords - any statistics on user behavior?

I'm looking for analyses of how users choose and use passwords. I'm sure there are many resources out there that analyze user passwords. For instance, I've seen many people analyze dumps of password ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Requiring regular password change but storing previous paswords?

My bank requires me to change my password regularly but then they can detect if my password was used before. They probably store the old password (possibly hashed) in order to detect it. I think this ...