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

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368
votes
11answers
72k 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 ...
677
votes
22answers
136k 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 ...
330
votes
4answers
103k 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 ...
235
votes
7answers
37k 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 ...
94
votes
6answers
35k 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. ...
295
votes
10answers
35k 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. ...
357
votes
21answers
68k 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 ...
48
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 ...
46
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
44
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.
360
votes
14answers
59k 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 ...
59
votes
12answers
11k 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 ...
87
votes
4answers
20k 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
32
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
144
votes
8answers
22k views

Why are salted hashes more secure?

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 ...
27
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, ...
23
votes
4answers
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 ...
20
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
133
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
63
votes
5answers
22k 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?
51
votes
9answers
10k 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 ...
30
votes
9answers
19k 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?
51
votes
8answers
4k 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 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...
41
votes
9answers
11k 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?
26
votes
6answers
27k 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 ...
35
votes
10answers
3k 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) ...
21
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
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?
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Calculating complex password entropy?

Whenever I look at password entropy, the only equation I ever see is E = log2(R)*L, or alternatively E = log2(R^L), where E is password entropy, R is the range of available characters, and L is the ...
12
votes
3answers
10k 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, ...
187
votes
18answers
14k 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 ...
71
votes
13answers
20k views

Why do sites implement locking after 3 failed password attempts?

I know the reasoning behind not letting infinite password attempts -- brute force attempts is not a meatspace weakness, but a problem with computer security -- but where did they get the number 3 ...
25
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I prevent someone from accessing a Windows XP system via boot disk?

Apparently a computer system protected by a a login password, e.g. Windows XP, can be easily hacked by someone with physical access to it using methods like this one: ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

What is a good practical (and sane) way to manage all your passwords for online sites?

I am just a mere mortal that wants to have a somewhat secure way of managing all my passwords. This is something that I have been putting off, but since LinkedIn decided to give away one of my ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Reference implementation of C# password hashing and verification

Does anyone have a reference implementation (ideally 3rd party certified, or government approved) way one-way hash a password for C# and or Java? Ideally,I'd like to see something that includes a ...
4
votes
2answers
6k views

Is it safe to store password in PHP session?

I need to do some encryptions in the private zone of my website and I want to bcrypt the user's password. Is it safe to store the password in the session when user does the login, so that I can use ...
29
votes
3answers
3k 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. ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

When hashing passwords, is it ok to use the hashed password as the salt?

I don't like this idea. But I can not come up with a technical argument against it. Can somebody explain it to me? The basic idea is: $passwd = 'foo'; $salt = hash($passwd); $finalHash = hash($passwd ...
312
votes
13answers
62k 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 ...
60
votes
9answers
59k 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
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 ...
29
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
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
53
votes
12answers
10k views

What to do about websites that store plain text passwords

I recently received an email from a popular graduate job web site (prospects.ac.uk) that I haven't used in a while suggesting I use a new feature. It contained both my username and password in plain ...