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{ Category Archives } Passwords

Password Best Practices I - The Generator

This is the first in a series of posts about password best practices. The series will cover best practices from a few different angles- the generator targeted at developers creating those generators, the end user (you, mom, dad, etc.) as you select passwords for accounts from those generators, and the service provider storing passwords in […]

Colorful Passphrases

Since the development of my passphrase and password generator, I started working toward improving the other online generators out there on the web. I created a Google Spreadsheet to work toward that goal, by doing reasonable audits to "rank" each generator, and see how they stacked up against the rest. Then, I started submitting patches […]

Random Passphrases Work, Even If They're Built From Known Passwords

Just this morning, security researcher Troy Hunt released a ZIP containing 306 million passwords that he's collected over the years from his ';--have i been pwned? service. As an extension, he created a service to provide either a password or a SHA-1 hash to see if your password has been pwnd. In 2009, the social […]

Further Investigation Into Scrypt and Argon2 Password Hashing

Introduction In my previous post, I didn't pay close attention to the memory requirements of Argon2 when running my benchmarks. Instead, I just ran them until I got tired of waiting around. Further, I really didn't do justice to either scrypt nor Argon2 when showing the parallelization factor. So, as a result, I did a […]

Let's Talk Password Hashing

TL;DR In order of preference, hash passwords with: scrypt bcrypt Argon2 sha512crypt sha256crypt PBKDF2 Do not hash passwords with: MD5 md5crypt UNIX crypt(3) SHA-1/2/3 Skein BLAKE2 Any general purpose hashing function. Any encryption algorithm. Your own design. Plaintext Introduction Something that comes up frequently in crypto circles, aside from the constant database leaks of accounts […]

How To Always Encrypt Chromium Saved Passwords On GNU/Linux - No Matter What

One of the things that has always bothered me about the Chromium project (the project the Google Chrome browser is based on) is that passwords are encrypted, if and only if your operating system provides an authentication API through your account login. For example, on Windows, is is accomplished through the "CryptProtectData" function. This function […]

Do XKCD Passwords Work?

You'll always see comments on web forums, social sites, blog posts, and emails about "XKCD passwords". This is of course referring to the XKCD comic by Randall Munroe describing what he thinks is the best password generator: What no one has bothered asking, is if this actually works. Lorrie Faith Cranor, director of the Carnegie […]

Password Generation in the Shell

No doubt, some people use password generators- not many, but some. Unfortunately, this means relying on 3rd party utilities, where the source code may not always be available. Personally, I would rather be in full control of the entire generation stack. I know how to make sure plenty of entropy is available in the generation, […]

SHA512crypt Versus Bcrypt

On the Internet, mostly in crypto circles, you'll see something like the following in a comment, forum post, on a mailing list, other otherwise: Do not use fast hashes to store passwords on disk. Use bcrypt. In most cases, however, the understanding of why to use bcrypt isn't entirely clear. You'll hear the standard answer […]

Super Size The Strength Of Your OpenSSH Private Keys

In a previous post, about 18 months ago, I blogged about how you can increase the strength of your OpenSSH private keys by using openssl(1) to convert them to PKCS#8 format. However, as of OpenSSH verison 6.5, there is a new private key format for private keys, as well as a new key type. The […]

Where Cryptographic Hashing Algorithms Fail

What Is A Cryptographic Hashing Algorithm? Cryptographic hashing algorithms are one-way functions that produce a message digest that represents a given input. Because the keyspace is so astromically large, it should be practically infeasible to find a different input that represents the same digest. The input is typically referred to as the message while the […]

Time Based One Time Passwords - How It Works

Introduction With all the news about Heartbleed, passwords, and two-factor authentication, I figured I would blog about exactly how two-factor authentication can work- in this case, TOTP, or Time based one time passwords, as defined by The Initiative for Open Authentication (OATH). TOTP is defined in RFC 6238, and is an open standard, which means […]

Heartbleed And Your Passwords

Recently it was discovered that OpenSSL contained a pretty massive security hole that allowed simple TLS clients to retrieve plain text information from a TLS-protected server using the TLS Heartbeat. The advisory is CVE-2014-0160. This has to be one of the most dangerous security vulnerabilities to hit the Internet in a decade. More information can […]

Creating Strong Passwords Without A Computer, Part III - Off The Grid

Previously, I used entropy as a backdrop for creating strong passwords. It's important that you read that article and fully understand it before moving on with the rest of the series. So far, I've blogged about generating passwords using systems that your grandma could use. In this case, I have less confidence that my grandma […]

Creating Strong Passwords Without A Computer, Part II - The PasswordCard

Previously, I used entropy as a backdrop for creating strong passwords. It's important that you read that article and fully understand it before moving on with the rest of the series. Continuing our series about creating strong passwords without a computer, we look at a method I've blogged about in the past: The PasswordCard. The […]