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

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131
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18answers
13k 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
7answers
7k 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 ...
53
votes
12answers
3k views

How do you log in from an unsecured computer?

Suppose that you are on a cybercafe, at a friend's home or at your work office, and you need to log in on a site, but you feel that the the computer can not be trusted (e.g. your friend isn't ...
36
votes
3answers
38k views

How difficult to crack keepass master password?

How easily could someone crack my keepass .kdbx file if that person steals the file but never obtains the Master Password? Is this a serious threat, or would a brute force attack require massive ...
29
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 ...
44
votes
9answers
4k views

Generic error message for wrong password or username - is this really helpful?

It is really common (and I would say it is some kind of security basic) to not show on the login page if the username or the password was wrong when a user tries to log in. One should show a generic ...
36
votes
7answers
3k views

“Real” Salt and “Fake” Salt

During a Q&A period at DEFCON this year, one member of the audience mentioned that we're using "fake salt" when concatenating a random value and a password before hashing. He defined "real salt" ...
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 ...
20
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
19
votes
10answers
4k views

Best password strength checker

In XKCD #936: Short complex password, or long dictionary passphrase? Jeff claimed that password cracking with "dictionary words separated by spaces", or "a complete sentence with punctuation", or ...
14
votes
6answers
914 views

Is This Login Security Enough?

I'm coming up with my next login system for admins of an ecommerce website to have login form is SSL secured password is converted to sha256 before being transmitted (bcrypt is too slow still for ...
4
votes
5answers
18k views

Modern high quality password dictionary

Has anyone come across any good password dictionary lately? Some of the lists I found dated back to 90's! Some are simply too big that I doubt their quality. There appears to be some work by someone ...
16
votes
5answers
704 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

openssl: recover key and IV by passphrase

A large amount of files were encrypted by openssl enc -aes-256-cbc -pass pass:MYPASSWORD Openssl should derive key+IV from passphrase. I'd like to know key+IV equivalent of that MYPASSWORD. Is ...
24
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
6k views

How secure is Windows 8's Picture Password login?

The final Windows 8 build has been released to manufacturing. One of the new features of Windows 8 is "Picture Password", where the end user logs on to Windows by clicking a specific pattern on the ...
14
votes
11answers
3k views

Best practice for password distribution

I am about to set up a new account on my Linux server for a user that lives in another state in the U.S. I can't think of a good way to get them this user their password. There must be a standard ...
11
votes
3answers
383 views

Is it inconsistent to tell users to “not click on password links in email”, and requiring clicks on “forgot password” links?

On one hand, IT Security shops have been telling users to not click on links in email because they can do damage to your computer, or phish your personal information. Many of those issues are ...
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 ...
25
votes
12answers
3k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
1k views

How can we accurately measure a password entropy range?

I've given myself the task of writing code that determines the strength of a password, and really want to break out of a lot of already established ways we do that, as they're often lacking, not ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

How would you store a 4 digit pin code securely in the database?

I'm familiar with password hashing, using salts, bcrypt etc. But it doesn't seem like this would work to store a 4 digit pin code since the attacker could try all 10,000 combinations quite quickly. ...
18
votes
12answers
2k views

Why do we even use passwords / passphrases next to biometrics?

In the last couple of days there were a lot of talking about passwords and passphrases, not only here, but on several blogs and forums I follow (especially after XKCD #936 saw the light of this ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does Facebook bother comparing old and new passwords?

An answer to this question says Facebook generates a bunch of password guesses to see if they hash the same as a previous version of the password. Why bother? If a service forces every password to ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

What chars should I not allow in passwords?

I am planning to develop a website that require that the users register a username and a password. When I let the user choose a password, what chars should I allow the users to have in the password? ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I mitigate the threat that DPAPick poses to my DPAPI protected data?

The Windows Data Protection API (DPAPI) is the suggested method for storing secrets on Windows systems (such as database passwords required by ASP.Net applications). DPAPick was presented at BlackHat ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Password entropy in layman's terms

Entropy is a term used often in relation to password security and brute-force attacks, but it is a topic that can get complicated quickly. What is the best way to describe password entropy (what it is ...
23
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
512 views

Is it OK to tell your password to an admin? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: From a security point : Is it OK to tell your password to an admin? I am working in a small company (20 employees) as a senior SW engineer. After having some email ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

Is it possible to securely store passwords using reversible encryption?

Everyone says that you need to use a non-reversible hash when you store passwords so that even if your database is leaked, the passwords themselves are still safe. I'm wondering if there is anyway to ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

How many passwords does the average user know?

Looking for research on the count and complexity of passwords that an average user is actively using. Note: Also, just to be clear, by research, this is not a request for you to respond with an ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

How big salt should be?

I will be using scrypt to store passwords in my application. As such, I'll be using SHA-256 and Salsa20 crypto primitives (with PBKDF2). Having that in mind, how big salt should I use? Should it be ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

How often do two users use the same password

If no two users use the same password, then in theory salting the password hash is not needed. How often, in practice, do two users have the same password?
8
votes
3answers
912 views

Is this code snippet good enough for password hash and salt

After a few days reading up about salting and hashing passwords, I found an actual bit of code that tells how to do it. This is what I found: $blowfish_salt = ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Choosing a session ID algorithm for a client-server relationship

I am developing an application which has a client-server relationship, and I am having trouble deciding on the algorithm by which the session identifier is determined. My goal is to restrict ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

time to crack file-encryption password - more than just iteration

I have often seen that takes x amount of time to crack a certain length password. But this just seems to be the amount of time it takes to iterate through all the possibilities. What about the time it ...
8
votes
2answers
792 views

Stretching a hash, many iterations versus longer input string

I have been reading up on various password hashing schemes, for example the SHA-based Crypt proposed by Ulrich Drepper and used in some Linux versions. A recurring theme here is to 'strengthen' or ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

How do online accounts get hacked?

How does your typical users run-of-the-mill Facebook/twitter/gmail/AIM/etc account get hacked? Is it simply a matter of a weak password? Are they typically the victim of phishing or other social ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Practices for storing username/password in Web applications

I have read the following question: Storing password in Java application but I don't find the answers useful for my case. So here is my question somehow related to that. I have a Java Web application ...
5
votes
3answers
16k views

Four-way Handshake in WPA-Personal (WPA-PSK)

Can someone explain to me in what consists the Four-way Handshake in WPA-Personal (WPA with Pre-Shared Key), which informations are being sent between AP and client, how is it possible to find the AP ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

How secure is WD MyPassport lock

I have a WD My Passport hard drive. There is an option that allows you to lock your hard drive with a password. How secure is this lock? They don't give details about the encryption algorith or the ...
46
votes
8answers
3k views

I'm an IT consultant. Should I discourage a client from telling me his password?

I'm an IT consultant. One client has known me for a few years. He wants me to do some work on his kids' laptop again. I'll need to log into his kids' Windows user account. (I'm guessing that multiple ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Why do we ask for a user's existing password when changing their password?

In a web applications context, when a user wants to change their current password, generally they would have to enter their current password first. However at this point, the user has already been ...
14
votes
6answers
662 views

Is there additional security value in using passwords with words or phrases in non-English languages?

I was thinking about correct horse battery staple. I am not a native English speaker. In my language, the above could be written as: vqrno kon bateriq telbod OR вярно кон батерия телбод. Keep in ...
13
votes
2answers
351 views

Concrete figures on password cracking in the wild

While password guessing is a science, not every attacker out there is up-to-date with the latest advances or cares to invest in GPUs or FPGAs. It's easy enough to test online password guessing ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

What's wrong with storing private keys in the cloud?

I know this sounds like a dumb question, but whats wrong with it? Assuming that all private data is encrypted (by the client) using PBE AES256, then is this scheme more vulerable than storing keys on ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are passwords limited to 16 characters?

What is the reason that most websites limit to 16 characters? I would have thought the longer the password the more difficult it makes it for someone to crack it? Is it something to do with hash ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Additional security of keyfile on top of a master password for KeePass

I use KeePass + Dropbox to manage and synchronize my passwords across my devices. This system works really great and I trust KeePass' security model. However my biggest remaining concern is the ...
10
votes
3answers
304 views

If multi factor authentication is enabled, how should that affect self-service password reset?

Given that security is only as secure as its weakest link, suppose I have website with additional authentication enabled in any of these ways: (example, multiple conditions may be required) ...