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

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3answers
3k views

Calculating complex password entropy?

Whenever I look at password entropy, the only equation I ever see is E = log2(R)*L, or alternatively E = log2(R^L), where E is password entropy, R is the range of available characters, and L is the ...
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 ...
66
votes
8answers
123k 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 ...
60
votes
7answers
48k 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 ...
68
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3answers
22k 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 ...
58
votes
9answers
53k 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 ...
17
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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 ...
29
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
20
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5answers
16k 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 ...
46
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5answers
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 ...
21
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3answers
5k 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 ...
22
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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
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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
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4answers
5k 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?
17
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2answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
819 views

Calculating how secure my password is

I generally use gnuPG for encrypting my files. And as far as I know it's strength ultimately depends on the passphrase I use. So, I would like to know: how can I mathematically calculate how secure my ...
24
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5answers
3k 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 ...
16
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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 ...
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 _). ...
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 ...
11
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

Can password-protected zip files be broken without brute force?

You have a zip file that you created with 7z to password-protect it with AES 128. Can a smart adversary extract the data only through brute force, or is the file vulnerable to other attacks - such as, ...
9
votes
1answer
917 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
605 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 ...
145
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 ...
35
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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: ...
29
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
16
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 ...
38
votes
5answers
7k 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, ...
23
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 ...
79
votes
11answers
11k 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
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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
923 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
5k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
17
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 ...
12
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 ...
12
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
5k views

Password in file .php

My connection.php file stores the credentials to connect to the database. <?php $objConnect = mysql_connect("localhost","username","password"); mysql_select_db("selectDB", $objConnect); ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any advantage of bcrypt over multiple iterations of SHA-x/MD5?

I know that a good password hashing algorithm should be slow. MD5, SHA256, etc. are fast. So I've been adding multiple iterations of SHA-256 hashing to my web apps (around 50000). Getting the hash of ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

Is denying login after incorrect attempts ineffective?

Generally denying login attempts after X amounts of incorrect attempts for Y amount of tries is a very basic way to prevent bruteforce attempts or malicious login attempts. Yet, surely doing this is ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How will security need to be changed if P=NP?

If we suppose that it is found that P=NP, how will security measures need to be changed? I'd like to know the major security measures that are affected, and how they would need to be changed. We can ...
6
votes
3answers
399 views

How can Microsoft validate a shorter password on Microsoft accounts (MSDN)?

I recently ran across this when logging into MSDN. (I saw this screen after typing my initial credentials.) I have a 20+ digit password, however there's apparently a new requirement for Microsoft ...
18
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5answers
903 views

Is there any legal reason to save a cleartext password?

I called customer service of a well known company and discovered that the operator had the ability to view my website password in clear text on her screen. I asked her about this and she defended the ...
14
votes
5answers
924 views

Is it legal to log passwords from failed logins?

Is it legal to store/log mistyped passwords? How many of you have seen this happen in a log file or DB?
14
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2answers
2k views

Tamper-proof BIOS password & settings storage with Trusted Platform Module?

In the olden days, one could trivially bypass BIOS passwords on most PCs by removing the BIOS battery and clearing the CMOS. My question is: On modern PCs equipped with a Trusted Platform Module ...