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

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501
votes
11answers
104k views

How to securely hash passwords?

If I hash passwords before storing them in my database, is that sufficient to prevent them being recovered by anyone? I should point out that this relates only to retrieval directly from the ...
822
votes
23answers
162k views

XKCD #936: Short complex password, or long dictionary passphrase?

How accurate is this XKCD comic from August 10, 2011? I've always been an advocate of long rather than complex passwords, but most security people (at least the ones that I've talked to) are ...
390
votes
5answers
130k views

Do any security experts recommend bcrypt for password storage?

On the surface bcrypt, an 11 year old security algorithm designed for hashing passwords by Niels Provos and David Mazieres, which is based on the initialization function used in the NIST approved ...
290
votes
8answers
53k views

How to store salt?

Nowadays, if we expect to store user password securely, we need at least do the following thing $pwd=hash(hash($password) + salt) then store $pwd in your system instead of the real password. I have ...
116
votes
6answers
45k views

Password Hashing add salt + pepper or is salt enough?

Please Note: I'm aware that the proper method for secure password storage hashing is either scrypt or bcrypt. This question isn't for implementation in actual software, it's for my own understanding. ...
347
votes
11answers
42k views

Is my developer's home-brew password security right or wrong, and why?

A developer, let's call him 'Dave', insists on using home-brew scripts for password security. See Dave's proposal below. His team spent months adopting an industry standard protocol using Bcrypt. ...
414
votes
22answers
87k views

How does changing your password every 90 days increase security?

Where I work I'm forced to change my password every 90 days. This security measure has been in place in many organizations for as long as I can remember. Is there a specific security vulnerability ...
54
votes
2answers
7k views

What should end-users do about Heartbleed?

What should one do about the Heartbleed OpenSSL exploit? mainly talks about what people running websites should do about Heartbleed. What should end-users of websites be doing? Do they need to ...
39
votes
6answers
16k views

https security - should password be hashed server-side or client-side?

I am building a web application which requires users to login. All communication goes through https. I am using bcrypt to hash passwords. I am facing a dilemma - I used to think it is safer to make a ...
166
votes
8answers
34k views

Why are salted hashes more secure for password storage?

I know there are many discussions on salted hashes, and I understand that the purpose is to make it impossible to build a rainbow table of all possible hashes (generally up to 7 characters). My ...
50
votes
6answers
8k views

How do some sites (e.g. online banks) only ask for specific characters from a password without storing it as plaintext?

I thought How can a system enforce a minimum number of changed characters... would answer my question, but it seems this is a different case. When I sign on to my online banking account, I'm prompted ...
453
votes
14answers
76k views

What technical reasons are there to have low maximum password lengths?

I have always wondered why so many websites have very firm restrictions on password length (exactly 8 characters, up to 8 characters, etc). These tend to be banks or other sites where I actually care ...
49
votes
38answers
9k views

What is your way to create good passwords that can actually be remembered?

What are the methodologies which can be used to generate "human" good quality password? They have to ensure a good strength and also easy to remember for a human being.
146
votes
5answers
21k views

Does Facebook store plain-text passwords?

I was about to reset my Facebook password and got this error: Your new password is too similar to your current password. Please try another password. I assumed that Facebook stores only password ...
62
votes
12answers
12k views

How reliable is a password strength checker?

I've tested the tool from Microsoft available here which tests password strength and rates them. For a password such as "i am going to have lunch tonight", the tool rates it's strength as "BEST" and ...
108
votes
4answers
27k views

Recommended # of iterations when using PKBDF2-SHA256?

I'm curious if anyone has any advice or points of reference when it comes to determining how many iterations is 'good enough' when using PBKDF2 (specifically with SHA-256). Certainly, 'good enough' is ...
28
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 ...
35
votes
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 ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

Recommended policy on password complexity

Is there any research on how how a password complexity policy can increase or decrease the quality of passwords? If you don't have any requirements on the password then probably 90% of users will use ...
38
votes
10answers
4k 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) ...
71
votes
5answers
31k views

Is sending password to user email secure?

How secure is sending passwords through email to a user, since email isn't secured by HTTPS. What is the best way to secure it? Should i use encryption?
28
votes
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, ...
82
votes
9answers
75k 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 ...
39
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
58
votes
9answers
16k 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 ...
61
votes
8answers
6k views

Is it OK to tell your password to your company's sysadmin?

I'm working in a small company (20 employees) as a senior software engineer. After having problems with my email, our newly employed IT administrator asked me to write my user password to someone in ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

What to transfer? Password or its hash?

Let's say in my database I store passwords hashed with salt with a fairly expensive hash (scrypt, 1000 rounds of SHA2, whatever). Upon login, what should I transfer over the network and why? Password ...
20
votes
4answers
9k views

Google Account: implications of using application-specific passwords

In the wake of the recent Mat Honan story I decided to try out two-factor authentication on my Google account. But in order to keep using it with Exchange, the Android OS, Google Talk and Google ...
37
votes
9answers
26k 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?
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it a bad idea for an information holder to e-mail a user their password?

A couple of websites with which I'm registered have, after a period of inactivity on my part, each sent me an e-mail to remind me that I'm still registered. In each case, that e-mail has included my ...
26
votes
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
13k 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, ...
95
votes
11answers
13k views

How critical is it to keep your password length secret?

Is keeping your password length secret critical to security? Does someone knowing that you have a password length of say 17 make the password drastically easier to brute force?
45
votes
9answers
17k 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?
27
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 ...
31
votes
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 ...
30
votes
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. ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

How secure is asking for specific characters of passwords instead of the entire thing?

In some password-authenticated sites, you are asked to enter a random selection of specific characters from your password rather than the whole word/phrase. For example, it might say 'Enter the 1st, ...
48
votes
5answers
11k 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, ...
29
votes
6answers
35k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

Calculating password entropy?

Whenever I look at password entropy, the only equation I ever see is E = log2(RL) = log2(R) * L, where E is password entropy, R is the range of available characters, and L is the password length. I ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Is including a secret GUID in an URL Security Through Obscurity?

I know that this question is a little bit on the side of Opinion/Discussion, but I think there's a provable answer to it. I think the common view of "Security Through Obscurity" is that the security ...
18
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

Is my bank storing my password in plain text? [duplicate]

My bank (and every bank I've come across) only ever asks for individual characters from my password when logging in. Is my bank storing my password in plain text?
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the purpose of a Pepper?

I've been trying to find out exactly what a pepper is. The only things I could accurately determine are that a Pepper: Is theoretically unique from site to site and hard-coded in the site's source ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

“Double hashing” with 2 different hash functions

Is doing something like this sha256(sha512(password+salt)) Less secure then just doing sha256(password+salt) I've heard it will increase collision chances. I can think of 3 reasons to do this ...
345
votes
13answers
67k views

Are passwords stored in memory safe?

I just realized that, in any language, when you save a password in a variable, it is stored as plain text in the memory. I think the OS does its job and forbids processes from accessing each other's ...
202
votes
17answers
17k views

Passwords Being Sent in Clear Text Due to Users' Mistake in Typing it in the Username Field

Upon reviewing the Logs generated by different SIEMs (Splunk, HP Logger Trial and the AlienVault platform’s SIEM) I noticed that for some reason quite a few users tend to make the mistake of typing ...
84
votes
11answers
16k views

Password rules: Should I disallow “leetspeak” dictionary passwords like XKCD's Tr0ub4dor&3

TLDR: We already require two-factor authentication for some users. I'm hashing, salting, and doing things to encourage long passphrases. I'm not interested in the merits of password complexity rules ...
46
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...