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

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3answers
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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 ...
36
votes
4answers
25k 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 ...
36
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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 ...
35
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7answers
11k 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 ...
34
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7answers
7k views

Is it possible to improve brute-force guessing of a password with a picture of the keyboard used to enter it?

Is it a bad idea to post a photo of your keyboard to social media? Can I look at a photo of a keyboard and determine the password of an account? Assuming a certain (set of) password(s) is the most ...
34
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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 ...
34
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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 ...
34
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4answers
21k 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 ...
33
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6answers
11k 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 ...
33
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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 ...
33
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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 ...
33
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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
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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
6k views

Is using the username encrypted with the password as key a good password storage scheme?

On web applications I build I don't hash the passwords. Instead I symmetrically encrypt the username using the user's password and store the result in the password field. I use RijndaelManaged on ...
32
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8answers
5k views

Why must I have a “strong” password for sites like this? [duplicate]

I don't share any personal information with StackExchange, I'm not really worried about anyone trying to hack my account and I can't see any incentive for them to do so, and yet the password strength ...
32
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5answers
9k 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 ...
32
votes
7answers
13k 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 ...
32
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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 ...
32
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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 ...
32
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11answers
4k 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 ...
32
votes
2answers
14k 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
4k 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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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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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 ...
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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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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4answers
6k 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 ...
31
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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 ...
31
votes
5answers
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 ...
31
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
31
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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?
30
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4answers
15k 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 ...
30
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 ...
30
votes
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 ...
30
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3answers
5k 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 ...
30
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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 ...
30
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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 ...
30
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2answers
9k views

Does bcrypt have a maximum password length?

I was messing around with bcrypt today and noticed something: hashpw('testtdsdddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddsddddddddddddddddd', salt) Output: ...
29
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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 ...
29
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6answers
36k 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
votes
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 ...
28
votes
5answers
4k 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
votes
6answers
11k 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 ...
28
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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 ...
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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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 ...
28
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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 ...