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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

35
votes
2answers
4k views

Pre-hash password before applying bcrypt to avoid restricting password length

Good practice is not to unnecessarily restrict password length, so that appropriately-long passphrases (perhaps 35-45 chars for 6/7 dicewords) can be used. (See e.g. Should I have a maximum password ...
34
votes
15answers
5k 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: ...
34
votes
9answers
8k 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?
34
votes
5answers
5k 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, ...
33
votes
11answers
16k views

Are password-protected ZIP files secure?

Following my answer. If I can list contents of password-protected ZIP file, check the file types of each stored file and even replace it with another one, without actually knowing the password, then ...
33
votes
3answers
3k views

Security Review - password_hash implementation for PHP

I'm currently working on a "helper function" for PHP's core to make password hashing more secure and easier for the majority of developers. Basically, the goal is to make it so easy, that it's harder ...
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
4answers
2k views

Why did my provider reset my password after someone else attempted to gain access to my account?

Recently a provider (of SIP trunking services) I subscribe to sent me a strange email. It claimed that someone in another country attempted to reset the password to my account and was unsuccessful in ...
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 ...
32
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
4answers
2k views

If email is insecure, why do we use it for password resets?

I found myself telling a coworker today "Email is insecure, that's why we developed our secure report application." But then it struck me, Why is email considered insecure? If it is so insecure, why ...
32
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does Google cripple the 2FA Google Authenticator PAM module?

If you enable 2FA for Google Apps the shared secret is 160 bits. The google_authenticator PAM module on the other hand seems to use 80 bits for the shared secret. According to RFC 4226: R6 - The ...
31
votes
8answers
3k views

Why improvising your own Hash function out of existing hash functions is so bad

I'm afraid I'll have tomatoes thrown at me for asking this old question, but here goes. After reading that cooking up your own password hash out of existing hashing functions is dangerous over and ...
31
votes
7answers
10k views

How can crackers reconstruct 200k salted password hashes so fast?

I'm researching for a small talk about websecurity and I found one article about the formspring hack, which made me curious. They claim to have used SHA-256 + salt We were able to immediately fix ...
31
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it safe to use leakedin.org?

leakedin.org claims to offer a service checking if your LinkedIn password has been stolen and whether it has been cracked. The website claims that it's pure Javascript, that is your password won't ...
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
7answers
8k views

Is salting a hash really as secure as common knowledge implies?

(I did search on this topic, but I found no complete question/answer that addressed it, or even good portions of questions that might be relevant.) I'm implementing a salt function for user passwords ...
30
votes
7answers
2k views

How do I educate others about social engineering?

One of my friends used to boast about how long his passwords are. One day, I decided to play a prank and social-engineered it out of him. I was pretty surprised as to how effortless the entire ...
30
votes
7answers
5k views

Why isn't open WiFi encrypted?

As far as I understand, WiFi networks that require no password send traffic through the air unencrypted. Those that require a password encrypt each connection uniquely, even if they're all using the ...
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 ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Changing picture as characters entered into password

When Lotus Notes asks for the password, it displays a screen with a picture that appears to change after a new character is entered after the fifth character. I have noticed the sequence of ...
29
votes
5answers
7k views

Why are brute-force password-cracking attacks not automatically detected and thwarted?

Why doesn't software automatically detect password-cracking attacks, and thwart them? Long version: Suppose that someone tries a brute-force password-cracking attack on some program XYZ that ...
29
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 ...
29
votes
5answers
2k views

What are the security implications of storing password blacklist?

I want to add a password blacklist that would prevent the 1000 most common passwords from being used in order to mitigate shallow dictionary attacks. Is there any negative implication of storing this ...
28
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 ...
28
votes
9answers
13k views

Feeding /dev/random entropy pool?

Which way of additionally feeding /dev/random entropy pool would you suggest for producing random passwords? Or, is there maybe a better way to locally create fully random passwords?
28
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 ...
28
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
27
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 ...
27
votes
5answers
5k views

Length of passwords that are rainbow table safe

With large computing power (like what you can get in the Amazon cloud for example) you can generate huge rainbow tables for passwords. There also seems to be some large rainbow tables reachable that ...
27
votes
6answers
4k views

Is Linux really that secure, with only root password denying external access?

While I was searching online for information about Linux security, the most typical explanation was: Linux is secure, because the root password is required to access the kernel and install new ...
27
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there any advantage to splitting a password?

I've been reading about the LANMAN (LM) hash and I'm curious about a particular part of the algorithm. The LM hash is computed as follows: The user’s ASCII password is converted to uppercase. ...
26
votes
12answers
4k 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 ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

How valuable is secrecy of an algorithm?

On the surface, the inadvisability of security through obscurity is directly at odds with the concept of shared secrets (i.e. "passwords"). Which is to say: if secrecy around passwords is valuable, ...
25
votes
3answers
3k views

MD5 collision attacks: are they relevant in password hashing?

DISCLAIMER: This is not an endorsement of MD5 as a password hashing function. I know about parallelization, GPUs, and dedicated password hashing functions like bcrypt and scrypt. With that out of ...
25
votes
4answers
4k 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?
24
votes
8answers
2k views

Why is password hashing considered so important?

After reading this article, I can see the benefits of password hashing as a second layer of defence, in the event of an intruder gaining access to a password database. What I still don't understand is ...
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
6answers
20k views

Most secure password hash algorithm(s)?

What is/are currently the most cryptographically secure hashing algorithm(s)? (available in PHP) Speed is irrelevant, because I'm iterating the hash over a fixed time (rather than a fixed number of ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

Does password-protecting a server's BIOS help in securing sensitive data?

I'm running a server of which I protected the BIOS with a password. One doesn't have to enter this password before booting, but before entering the BIOS setup. I just did this from routine. However, ...
24
votes
11answers
2k views

Is it safe to use a weak password as long as I have two-factor authentication?

I'm careful to use strong passwords (according to How Big is Your Haystack, my passwords would take a massive cracking array 1.5 million centuries to crack), I don't reuse passwords across sites, and ...
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 ...
24
votes
6answers
2k 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
4answers
9k 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 ...
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 ...
23
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 ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

Should passwords be revealed in error message?

I am having pet-peeve with PHP's PDO class. As you can see on the Warning note: it reveals database password by default if an exception was not caught (when display errors is on which is a probable ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Passwords in plaintext?

I'm doing some research on the App of my telephone operator. I started Burp Suite on my Mac in proxy mode, I opened up the App on my iPhone and started to sniff some traffic. I pressed the "login" ...