Specific to the security of passwords: hashing, entropy, cracking, resets, lockouts, etc.

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29
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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 ...
32
votes
2answers
12k views

HMAC - Why not HMAC for password storage?

Nota bene: I'm aware that the good answer to secure password storage is either scrypt or bcrypt. This question isn't for implementation in actual software, it's for my own understanding. Let's say ...
55
votes
12answers
11k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
8k views

Is PBKDF2-based System.Cryptology.RFC2898DeriveBytes() “better” for Unicode Password hashing than traditional methods?

When is it appropriate to use RFC2898DeriveBytes versus a typical hash? Update I now understand that a KDF is typically used to create a symmetric key for possible use in encrypting a stream. I ...
16
votes
6answers
4k views

Managing website passwords for small team

I'm part of a small group of people who manage a website and the server it runs on. We have many accounts with third-party websites or services that multiple people on the team need to access. What is ...
20
votes
5answers
5k views

What's the practical limit for rainbow-table based bruteforce?

Say we have a hash of a password. The password can be considered to be made of of totally random characters and has a fixed length of N. The hash is SHA1(password+salt), where the salt is of length M. ...
17
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 ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

Are password complexity rules counterproductive?

In creating a login for this site I chose a nondictionary password that would be extremely hard to guess, but easy to remember. I was told that it did not meet complexity rules. After several ...
81
votes
9answers
144k views

Where can I find good dictionaries for dictionary attacks?

I’m wondering where I can find good collections of dictionaries which can be used for dictionary attacks? I've found some through Google, but I’m interested in hearing about where you get your ...
66
votes
7answers
55k views

Certificate based authentication vs Username and Password authentication

What are the advantages and drawbacks of the certificate based authentication over username and password authentication? I know some, but I would appreciate a structured and detailed answer. UPDATE ...
76
votes
3answers
26k views

How does Google Authenticator work?

Google Authenticator is an alternative to SMS for 2Step verification, installing an app on Android where the codes will be sent. It works without any connectivity; it even works on plane mode. This ...
18
votes
1answer
4k views

How to apply a pepper correctly to bcrypt?

Update: There is a better way to add a server side key, than using it as a pepper. With a pepper an attacker must gain additional privileges on the server to get the key. The same advantage we get ...
30
votes
2answers
10k views

I just send username and password over https. Is this ok?

When a user's logging in to my site, they send their username and password to me over https. Besides the ssl, there's no special obfuscation of the password - it lives in memory in the browser in the ...
25
votes
5answers
21k 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 ...
47
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 ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Does overlaying the mouse on a virtual numeric keyboard really protect against keyloggers?

I just saw for the first time a new way to enter a password, at the Banque Postale (French Bank). You are given a virtual numeric keyboard and to type you can just leave the mouse cursor over a number ...
22
votes
6answers
1k views

Online password managers

Can online password managers be used for storing and managing passwords? I mean from the security point of view. I understand that those systems can be different and some deserves more trust than the ...
27
votes
4answers
6k views

How secure are my passwords in the hands of Firefox using a Master Password?

I'm relying on Firefox to remember my passwords, using a Master Password of more than 25 characters. How secure is this set-up?
18
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is it always `HASH( salt + password )` that we recommend?

Browsing over this site, many forums, online articles, there's always one specific way we're suggesting to store a password hash: function (salt, pass) { return ( StrongHash(salt + pass) ) } But ...
35
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
895 views

Calculating how secure my password is

I generally use GnuPG for encrypting my files and as far as I know its strength ultimately depends on the passphrase I use. So, I would like to know: how can I mathematically calculate how secure my ...
29
votes
7answers
4k views

Do non-keyboard characters make my password less susceptible to brute forcing?

I can put characters in my password for which there are no keys on a keyboard. On Windows, Alt+#### (with the numpad) inserts the character for whatever code you type in. When I put this in a ...
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 ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

Appropriate password requirements for a login (OpenID) service/provider/delegate/thing

This is with regards* to Stack Exchange's upcoming OpenID provider (and in particular, discussion about password requirements). Currently, password requirements are: Must contain 3 of: lower case ...
13
votes
5answers
8k views

How can I avoid putting the database password in a perl script?

I have a cronned perl script that connects to our database and does various kinds of lookups and integrity checks. The original script was written by someone long ago. My job is to make some changes ...
8
votes
4answers
750 views

Doesn't imposing a minimum password length make the password weaker by reducing the number of possible combinations?

I thought the strength of a password depended on the total number of possible combinations. Therefore, allowing longer passwords should be safer because you then have more possibilities. But why do ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

How expensive is it to guess a 15 character password, and should I be worried?

I'm currently using AES encryption (at home) on GNU/Linux (one of LUKS AES-256 variants with xts) and on Windows 7 (Truecrypt) with a 15 characters password (alphanumeric lowercase only plus _). ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Does bcrypt compare the hashes in “length-constant” time?

I saw this function slowEquals() while reading Salted Password Hashing - Doing it Right, which uses a byte-level xor comparison to avoid timing attacks. I was wondering whether this is what Bcrypt ...
5
votes
2answers
849 views

What is the purpose of a Pepper?

I've been trying to find out exactly what a pepper is. The only things I could accurately determine are that a Pepper: Is theoretically unique from site to site and hard-coded in the site's source ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How often should passwords change?

I'm asking two very related questions As an admin what policies should be enforced regarding the frequency of password changing? I have an idea that users should be forced to change their ...
2
votes
6answers
1k views

“Double hashing” with 2 different hash functions

Is doing something like this sha256(sha512(password+salt)) Less secure then just doing sha256(password+salt) I've heard it will increase collision chances. I can think of 3 reasons to do this ...
9
votes
1answer
958 views

Would it make sense to use Bcrypt and PBKDF2 together?

I've read various opinions about whether Bcrypt or PDBKF2 is a better key derivation hashing method. The answer seems to depend on a lot of complicated factors that are not easy to analyze. Would ...
2
votes
4answers
637 views

passphrases - lowercase and dictionary words

Amid all the discussion about password length vs. complexity (summarized by the famous xkcd strip and the followup dicussion) I am trying to make up my mind about passphrases made up with dictionnary ...
149
votes
18answers
15k views

What is a good analogy to explain to a layman why passwords should be hashed?

Note: This is not an actual situation I'm currently in. Assume your boss is one of those old-fashioned computer-illiterate managers and wants to store the passwords in plaintext to simplify ...
29
votes
4answers
16k views

Demystifying Web Authentication (Stateless Session Cookies)

I'm currently researching user authentication protocols for a website I'm developing. I would like to create an authentication cookie so users can stay logged in between pages. Here is my first ...
35
votes
15answers
6k views

Why do people think that this is bad way to hash passwords?

Well, please tell me, what's wrong with this code: $password = "hello"; $password = md5($password); for($i=1;$i<20;$i++){ $password = md5($password); } It's exactly the same as this one: ...
31
votes
4answers
16k views

Standards for encrypting passwords in configuration files?

My workplace has a standard that plaintext passwords are not allowed in application configuration files. This makes enough sense on its face, in case someone gets access to the config files they ...
39
votes
5answers
8k views

Are GUIDs safe for one-time tokens?

I see a lot of sites use GUIDs for password resets, unsubscribe requests and other forms of unique identification. Presumably they are appealing because they are easy to generate, unique, ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Essential things to think about before outsourcing authentication with OpenID, OAuth, or SAML

It's clear there there is no consistent set of features among any of the popular authentication providers. Below is an attempt to aggregate the similarities and differences I've noticed, but I ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

MySQL OLD_PASSWORD cryptanalysis?

The password hash used for MySQL passwords prior to version 4.1 (now called OLD_PASSWORD()) seems like a very simple ad-hoc hash, without salts or iteration counts. See e.g an implementation in ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

Are there secure alternatives to single-use password reset links?

We currently have what I believe to be a pretty standard scheme for dealing with password resets. Our reset links are single-use links: They expire immediately after they've been visited, even if the ...
24
votes
3answers
3k views

For an HTTPS web application, is it worthwhile to encrypt the password before POSTing it, to keep a MITM attacker from harversting it?

Our application has recently gone through penetration testing. The test found one critical security breach, which is essentially: The problem: Attacker sets up a WiFi spot. User enters our site ...
81
votes
11answers
13k views

“Username and/or Password Invalid” - Why do websites show this kind of message instead of informing the user which one was wrong?

Lets say a user is logging into a typical site, entering their username and password, and they mistype one of their inputs. I have noticed that most, if not all, sites show the same message (something ...
24
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
989 views

At what length does a password stop making sense?

I'm going to recommend that our users start using a password manager and start creating strong random passwords. Though I don't know what size of a password to recommend. Is it possible for a ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

Is it safe to store the password hash in a cookie and use it for “remember-me” login?

I want to store an encrypted string of the password hash in a cookie and use the hash to lookup the user and log them in (if they want to be remembered). Is this safe? The password is one-way hashed ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Do salts have to be random, or just unique and unknown?

First of all, my motive is to avoid storing the salt in the database as plain text. As far as this question is concerned, the salt is not stored in the database. After discussion in comments and in ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Looking for example of well-known app using unsalted hashes

Does anyone know of a well-known application that still uses unsalted hashes for password storage? I'm looking for an example for an upcoming lecture on Rainbow Tables, and I think it would add ...
13
votes
7answers
8k views

Forgotten password or reset link, which is more secure to email?

I originally posted this as a reply here in this thread but didn't get much feedback on it, and now I'm curious as to what others think is the best approach, or if there is any difference between the ...