242
votes
12answers
40k 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 ...
534
votes
22answers
101k 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 ...
353
votes
3answers
136k views

How does SSL/TLS work?

How does SSL work? I just realised we don't actually have a definitive answer here, and it's something worth covering. I'd like to see details in terms of: A high level description of the protocol. ...
254
votes
4answers
73k 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 ...
175
votes
6answers
20k 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 ...
66
votes
7answers
32k views

How secure are virtual machines really? False sense of security?

I was reading this CompTIA Security+ SYO-201 book, and the author David Prowse claims that: Whichever VM you select, the VM cannot cross the software boundaries set in place. For example, a ...
63
votes
5answers
21k 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. ...
194
votes
13answers
17k views

How is it possible that people observing an HTTPS connection being established wouldn't know how to decrypt it?

I've often heard it said that if you're logging in to a website - a bank, GMail, whatever - via HTTPS, that the information you transmit is safe from snooping by 3rd parties. I've always been a little ...
37
votes
3answers
15k views

What are the career paths in the computer security field?

What sorts of jobs are there, in which organizations, with what sorts of day-to-day responsibilities? What areas are good for folks coming out of school, vs what are good 2nd careers for experienced ...
248
votes
10answers
28k 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. ...
49
votes
13answers
9k views

What are the pros and cons of site wide SSL (https)?

What are the pros and cons of encrypting all HTTP traffic for the whole site through SSL, as opposed to SSL on just the login page?
30
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I deal with a compromised server?

I suspect that one or more of my servers is compromised by a hacker, virus, or other mechanism: What are my first steps? When I arrive on site should I disconnect the server, preserve "evidence", ...
70
votes
15answers
7k views

Does an established ssl connection mean a line is really secure

From the view of somebody offering a webapplication. When somebody connects with SSL (https) to our service and submits the correct authentication data, is it safe to transmit all sensitive data over ...
36
votes
2answers
7k views

Amount of simple operations that is safely out of reach for all humanity?

Cryptographic primitives usually assert some security level given as number of operations to mount an attack. Hash functions, for example, give different security levels for collision attacks, ...
44
votes
1answer
6k 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 ...
192
votes
3answers
43k views

CRIME - How to beat the BEAST successor?

With the advent of CRIME, BEAST's successor, what possible protection is available for an individual and/or system owner in order to protect themselves and their users against this new attack on TLS?
35
votes
8answers
7k views

How can I reliably erase all information on a hard drive?

As storage technologies change over time, using different encodings and remappings to deal with sector errors, the best way to permanently erase/wipe/shred data changes also. Methods for flash drives ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there DRM techniques to effectively prevent pirating?

A question on Skeptics.SE asks whether current DRM techniques effectively prevent pirating: Is DRM effective? The question for IT Security is: Can DRM be made effective, and are there any examples? ...
23
votes
11answers
4k views

Resources to learn about security

I am currently just finishing a undergrad computer science degree, but I know very little about computer security. What are some good resources (aside from this site) to learn the fundamentals of ...
61
votes
2answers
10k views

What are rainbow tables and how are they used?

Where can I find one? Is there a pot of gold at the end? How do I protect against them? From the Area51 proposal This question was IT Security Question of the Week. Read the Sep 09, 2011 blog ...
34
votes
12answers
4k views

How feasible is it for a CA to be hacked? Which default trusted root certificates should I remove?

This question has been revised & clarified significantly since the original version. If we look at each trusted certificate in my Trusted Root store, how much should I trust them? What factors ...
61
votes
9answers
10k views

Hardening Linux Server

We have already had questions on here about Hardening Apache, Hardening PHP and Securing SSH. To continue this trend I am interested in what steps people take to harden Linux servers. As in what ...
60
votes
6answers
7k views

Can anybody explain XSS? [closed]

I work programming Enterprise Java applications and do very little web development in 2002. I'm interested in security and like to read articles about it. However, I never fully understand how XSS ...
38
votes
5answers
5k views

Why shouldn't we roll our own?

Why shouldn't we create our own security schemes? I see a lot of questions around here about custom crypto and custom security mechanisms, especially around password hashing. With that in mind, I'm ...
68
votes
3answers
9k views

Is a rand from /dev/urandom secure for a login key?

Lets say I want to create a cookie for a user. Would simply generating a 1024 bit string by using /dev/urandom, and checking if it already exists (looping until I get a unique one) suffice? Or should ...
270
votes
19answers
42k 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 ...
181
votes
1answer
54k views

How exactly does the OpenSSL TLS heartbeat (Heartbleed) exploit work?

I've been hearing more about the OpenSSL Heartbleed attack, which exploits some flaw in the heartbeat step of TLS. If you haven't heard of it, it allows people to: Steal OpenSSL private keys Steal ...
62
votes
8answers
7k views

Can anyone provide references for implementing web application self password reset mechanisms properly?

We are implementing self password reset on a web application, and I know how I want to do it (email time limited password reset URL to users pre-registered email address). My problem is that I ...
64
votes
10answers
5k views

How do you explain the necessity of “nuke it from orbit” to management and users?

When a machine has been infected with malware, most of us here immediately identify the appropriate action as "nuke it from orbit" - i.e. wipe the system and start over. Unfortunately, this is often ...
20
votes
6answers
66k views

If someone hacks my wi-fi connnection, what can they see and how?

I have two questions on wifi security: If someone knows my wifi password (be it WEP or WPA) what can they see on my screen? Do they just see URLs I visit, or can they see everything in my ...
40
votes
41answers
7k 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.
75
votes
14answers
15k views

Apache Server Hardening

What are some best practices, recommendations, required reading for securing an Apache Server?
43
votes
8answers
102k views

How to determine what type of encoding/encryption has been used?

I've looked on this site and on SE. but i couldn't get a handle on this. Is there a way to find what type of encryption/encoding is being used? For example, I am testing a web application which ...
62
votes
6answers
10k views

How much can I trust Tor?

How much can I depend on Tor for anonymity? Is it completely secure? My usage is limited to accessing Twitter and Wordpress. I am a political activist from India and I do not enjoy the freedom of ...
84
votes
12answers
22k views

Why is it difficult to catch “Anonymous” or “Lulzsec” (groups)?

I'm not security literate, and if I was, I probably wouldn't be asking this question. As a regular tech news follower, I'm really surprised by the outrage of Anonymous (hacker group), but as a ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

Professional certifications for IT Security

Which credentials of the sub-list of IT certifications (as per the Information Systems Security Association) would be considered MUST HAVE for a IT Security specialist. Information Security CEH ...
35
votes
3answers
11k views

Is it enough to only wipe a flash drive once?

According to the documentation for the "diskscrb" command for wiping conventional hard drives: http://www.forensics-intl.com/diskscrb.html "Conforms to and exceeds the Government Standard set ...
43
votes
4answers
28k views

What is certificate pinning?

I'm superficially familiar with SSL and what certs do. Recently I saw some discussion on cert pinning but there wasn't a definition. A DDG search didn't turn up anything useful. What is certificate ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

What cookie attacks are possible between computers in related DNS domains (*.example.com)?

Here, several servers in the same DNS domain emit cookies under a variety of settings (scope, HTTPS, Secure) and another host emits a cookie with the same value. Example Suppose a user has the ...
23
votes
6answers
4k views

How to be completely anonymous online?

I recently saw this post on reddit: http://www.slashgeek.net/2012/06/15/how-to-be-completely-anonymous-online/ But the majority argument, both on reddit and on comments on that post seems to be that ...
26
votes
5answers
3k views

Open Source vs Closed Source Systems

My understanding is that open source systems are commonly believed to be more secure than closed source systems. Reasons for taking either approach, or combination of them, include: cultural norms, ...
54
votes
12answers
9k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
12k views

Why is writing zeros (or random data) over a hard drive multiple times better than just doing it once?

Lots of different programs, such as Darik's Boot and Nuke, let you write over a hard drive multiple times under the guise of it being more secure than just doing it once. Why?
29
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
39
votes
6answers
11k views

What techniques do advanced firewalls use to protect againt DoS/DDoS?

It is hard to protect a server against Denial of Service attacks, DoS/DDoS. The two simple ways I can think of is to use a server with much resources (e.g. CPU and memory), and to build the server ...
25
votes
4answers
2k views

How is “something you have” typically defined for “two-factor” authentication?

A wide range of products claim to offer "two-factor authentication" (c.v. Two-factor authentication - Wikipedia). Most are deployed as "something you have" to be used in addition to a normal password ...
25
votes
10answers
875 views

Does hashing a file from an unsigned website give a false sense of security?

Consider this. Many websites with software downloads also make available MD5 or SHA1 hashes, for users to verify the integrity of the downloaded files. However, few of these sites actually use HTTPS ...
92
votes
9answers
10k views

How can PayPal spoof emails so easily to say it comes from someone else?

When I receive a payment in PayPal, it sends me an email about it (pictured below). The problem is that the email is shown to be coming from the money sender's email address and not from PayPal ...
108
votes
5answers
55k views

What should a website operator do about the Heartbleed OpenSSL exploit?

CVE-2014-0160 http://heartbleed.com This is supposed to be a canonical question on dealing with the Heartbeat exploit. I run an Apache web server with OpenSSL, as well as a few other utilities ...
63
votes
4answers
32k views

What clients are proven to be vulnerable to Heartbleed?

On several pages, it is re-iterated that attackers can obtain up to 64K memory from the server or client that use an OpenSSL implementation vulnerable to Heartbleed (CVE-2014-0160). There are dozens ...

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