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

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3answers
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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 ...
32
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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 ...
32
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1answer
6k 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 ...
32
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6answers
28k 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 ...
32
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2answers
13k 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 ...
32
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2answers
3k 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
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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
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6answers
10k 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 ...
31
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5answers
6k views

If a web site shows me what my password was changed to, is it stored as plain text?

I just changed the password on a school-related web site. After completing the change successfully, the next page showed what the password was changed to. Can I conclude from this that the password ...
31
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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
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6answers
3k views

Does verifying identity by positions in passwords mean passwords are stored unhashed? [duplicate]

If authentication occurs by asking the user for the characters at certain positions in the password (such as: give the 3rd and 7th character in the password), does this imply that passwords are stored ...
31
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4answers
6k views

How does a hacker know how many times a password was hashed?

I've been reading a lot of questions about security and hash functions on this site and others. I am not an expert, just a curious mind and in my understanding the more iterations used to hash a ...
31
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8answers
5k 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
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11answers
3k 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 ...
31
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2answers
12k 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 ...
30
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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 ...
30
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8answers
5k 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 ...
30
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3answers
4k 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. ...
30
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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 ...
29
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4answers
13k views

Is using SHA-512 for storing passwords tolerable?

I know that the best options to use for storing passwords are bcrypt/PBKDF2/scrypt. However, suppose you have to audit a system and it uses SHA-512 with salt. Is that "fine"? Or it is a vulnerability ...
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 ...
29
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6answers
33k 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 ...
29
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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 ...
29
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4answers
5k 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 ...
29
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4answers
7k 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?
28
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5answers
3k 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, ...
28
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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 ...
28
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5answers
7k 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 ...
28
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7answers
3k views

What is a good way to authenticate a user to a smart phone?

What would be a good way to authenticate a user to a smart phone? By good, I mean that it is both secure, and user-friendly. Passwords don't seem to be the best fit because a password needs to be ...
28
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5answers
4k views

Are passwords comprised of key sequences on a keyboard any less secure than the same characters but jumbled up?

Here are two passwords: 5678%^&*tyuiTYUI and 8^tyU75%*IuY6T&i Both have the same number of characters and in each the characters are identical, the only difference is that the first ...
28
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2answers
8k views

Does bcrypt have a maximum password length?

I was messing around with bcrypt today and noticed something: hashpw('testtdsdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddsddddddddddddddddd', salt) Output: ...
28
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4answers
7k views

Security of passphrase-protected private key

If an attacker obtains a private key that was created with no passphrase, he obviously gains access to everything protected with that key. How secure are private keys set up with a passphrase? If an ...
28
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3answers
4k 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 ...
27
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8answers
3k 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 ...
27
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6answers
10k views

Is AES encrypting a password with itself more secure than SHA1?

This isn't really a practical question, but more a question of curiosity. I heard a CS professor recommend stepping up from md5ing passwords not to SHA1, but to AES encrypting the password using ...
27
votes
4answers
6k views

Why is using salt more secure?

Storing the hash of users' passwords, e.g. in a database, is insecure since human passwords are vulnerable to dictionary attacks. Everyone suggests that this is mitigated via the use of salts, but the ...
27
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3answers
2k 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, ...
27
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4answers
3k 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
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9answers
3k views

Best way to administer all my passwords

I am trying to figure out what the best solution is to store different types of passwords: Personal passwords (my personal email, my company's email, all the services I use to buy things like ...
27
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4answers
2k views

Why do some sites block pasting into username or password input fields?

I use a few websites that prevent me from copying & pasting into the username or password fields. It's quite frustrating when using a password manager, and if anything I'd think it discourages ...
27
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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 ...
26
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6answers
7k views

Are passwords that are manually typed in really unrecoverable from memory or disk?

As part of an increase in the security measures for our company, we're moving to making sure all password logins (databases, servers, etc), are done through a password prompt and never using stored ...
26
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5answers
4k views

Password strength of random words and brainflayer

I have read from multiple sources that it might be better to have a password composed of several random words since this is easier to remember than a random sequence of characters. For example this ...
26
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3answers
4k 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 ...
26
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12answers
7k 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
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2answers
3k views

Is it possible for my password to have more than one password combination?

Can my password have more than one password combination? I read up on physical combination locks (the lock you open with numbers) and I learned that a combination lock can have about 40 or more ...
26
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5answers
5k views

Security impact of using a public password for free WiFi

We have a WiFi network that we want to be public and free. Does having a password that is known to everyone provide any additional security advantage to the people using this network as opposed to ...
26
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3answers
6k 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 ...
26
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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 ...
25
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10answers
7k views

Two passwords for one account

Would it be a good idea if you had one account which would require two different passwords ? For example your login details were: email: example@gmail.com password 1: P4$$w0rd1 password 2: ...