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Deloitte: Use a Longer Password In 2013. Seriously. 538

Posted by timothy
from the you're-gonna-need-a-bigger-post-it dept.
clustro writes "Deloitte predicts that 8-character passwords will become insecure in 2013. Humans have trouble remembering passwords with more than seven characters, and it is difficult to enter long, complex passwords into mobile devices. Users have not adapted to increased computing power available to crackers, and continue to use bad practices such as using common and short passwords, and re-using passwords across multiple websites. A recent study showed that using the 10000 most common passwords would have cracked >98% of 6 million user accounts. All of these problems have the potential for a huge security hazard. Password vaults are likely to become more widely used out of necessity. Multifactor authentication strategies, such as phone texts, iris scans, and dongles are also likely to become more widespread, especially by banks."
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Deloitte: Use a Longer Password In 2013. Seriously.

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  • I Got It! (Score:5, Funny)

    by pmcizhere (1028912) * on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:07PM (#42824413)
    correcthorsebatterystaple. It's a perfectly long, easy to remember password. Just, nobody use it other than me, ok?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      awful password, only 4 symbols long

      • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:16PM (#42824575) Journal
        I currently use "11111111", and Deloitte says I should use at least 9 characters?
        Easy peasy, I'll buy some time by making it 12 characters long: "111111111111".
      • Re:I Got It! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vux984 (928602) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:52PM (#42825197)

        4 symbols chosen randomly from a dictionary of ~200,000 by a computer not by you because you won't choose words randomly.

        that makes it a 1 in 200000^4 to guess... or 1.6 x 10^21

        compare that to an 8 character password also randomly generated. Passwords which are drawn from a set of around 90 symbols. (50 letters including upper and lower case, 10 digits, and ~30 symbols)

        that's 90^8 or a measly 4.3 x10^15

        a 4 word randomly chosen password from a dictionary is by far the better password, and much easier to remember too.

        An 11 character password of completely random gibberish is about equivalent, to 4 random dictionary words. Good luck remembering somthing like `oN{/QM9PKb

        which is no better than:

        scald obsolescent period postpone

        • Re:I Got It! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:32PM (#42825923)

          Password too long, please enter 8-12 characters.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          We need to stop trying to remember multiple passwords entirely. Most browsers already remember passwords for you, with only a single master one needing to be committed to memory. The problem is they tend not to share the information between PCs and other devices.

          An NFC enabled phone would be ideal. Store passwords on the phone, and when they need to be typed in beam them to whatever PC or device you are using via NFC. That way there is no need to trust the device receiving the password to protect your passw

          • Re:I Got It! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by vux984 (928602) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @07:22PM (#42826649)

            An NFC enabled phone would be ideal. Store passwords on the phone.

            Meanwhile police around the country are facing an epidemic of cell phone thefts.

            everything is stored in one place that you always have access to.

            Well, you have access to it unless it was stolen.

            Or you dropped and it now its broken.
            Or the battery is dead.
            Or ...

    • Re:I Got It! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LoRdTAW (99712) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:23PM (#42824711)

      A better question would be, what system would allow 1000 password guesses per second to be authenticated? Most systems lock you out after 3 to 5 unsuccessful attempts. And I would hope that smart developers would put a time delay between how fast a user can reattempt to authenticate. So a computer sending authentication attempts in less than one second would be immediately blacklisted as a automated attack. Inserting a second or two delay between attempts would guarantee that. Assuming a computer could brute force a password by trying all possible strings, what system could that possibly be effective against? I can see that it could be useful against an encrypted file but an online banking site or other eCommerce site sounds impractical. anyone care to elaborate?

      • Re:I Got It! (Score:5, Informative)

        by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:31PM (#42824817)

        A better question would be, what system would allow 1000 password guesses per second to be authenticated?

        Irrelevant, as the cracking will happen offline after the bad guys have stolen your PW DB by exploiting other weaknesses in your system

        • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:42PM (#42825027)

          A better question would be, what system would allow 1000 password guesses per second to be authenticated?

          Irrelevant, as the cracking will happen offline after the bad guys have stolen your PW DB by exploiting other weaknesses in your system

          Which makes things even worse, since to protect your account, you're depending online service "X" to protect and secure their tables of passwords and account names with the best practices available (if convenient). And to make things even worse than that, those guys are counting on the general public to create more entropic and cryptographically secure passwords to secure their authentication data!

        • Re:I Got It! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:56PM (#42825275)
          I used to do this to the college lab computers (running NT 4 at the time). I'd walk in with a floppy, reboot, copy the SAM file to disk, return to the dorms and crack away. Typically, I'd have the entire password file cracked in 10-12 hours. The machine doing the cracking was a P3 500Mhz. When I did the lab computers, I was shocked to find the administrator password on all the machines was the 5-character room number of the campus's IT department. And, it took about all of 10 seconds to crack. Getting password file without a bootable floppy proved a little harder, but not much. All you had to was replace the login screen's screen saver with a copy of cmd.exe, and be patient. Then, a little utility to dump the hashed password from memory. (For a long while, the login "screen saver" ran as SYSTEM). This also worked on Windows 2000 & XP which had an extra layer of encryption over the SAM.
      • The fastest typist can type 100 - 150 WPM, so lets use that metric for designing systems requiring "human" input, like passwords. Artificially limiting brute force attacks.

      • Re:I Got It! (Score:5, Informative)

        by AndrewStephens (815287) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:36PM (#42824905) Homepage
        True, but nobody tries breaking into a system by logging in ten thousand times a second to a single account. The recent well-publicised break-ins resulted from the hashed password file being publicly available, either stolen through a vulnerability or maliciously leaked. If the attackers have the hashed passwords they can try them at a rate of millions or billions of attempts per second for as long as they want.
      • Re:I Got It! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:36PM (#42824913)

        I'd just double the time it takes for each try.

        First bad password: 1 second to retry.
        Second bad password: 2 seconds to retry.
        Third bad password: 4 seconds to retry.
        Fourth bad password: 8 seconds to retry.
        Fifth bad password: 16 seconds to retry.

        You get the idea. It'll end brute-force and only mildly inconvenience clueless users with fat fingers.

    • My preference is to mix a few languages and technical terms.

      nekozuki catbus ibuprofen shutzpa

      Even if you know how I generate these passphrases the number of combinations is staggering.
      Since the majority of language can use latin script you easily have a million or more possibilities
      for each word, giving more than 10^24 potential combinations, and that does not take into consideration
      that I am more than happy to include things like "catbus", which is not a real english word.

  • by eksith (2776419) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:10PM (#42824467) Homepage
    I used my online banking today and they limit to 8 characters EXACTLY... even though they demand a non alpha-numeric character and mixed case. I keep thinking, these idiots still don't get it. Also, obligatory [xkcd.com].
    • Some financial, investment and health insurance sites (I will not site for my own protection) specifically will not allow upper case and special characters (! @ # $ % etc). Oh, and they must be minimum of 8 but not more than 12 or some such. WTF? How is that secure?!

      • by eksith (2776419) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:39PM (#42824959) Homepage

        That's usually a guarantee they don't hash passwords :/

        Or they use some kind of encoding scheme instead that just lengthens with password size and letter case (DB field width will get maxed out) and don't use parameters for DB inserts/updates so special chars would wreak havoc with queries. Sometimes that's because they're running ancient software, but other times it's pure and simple laziness or disregard. It's hard to care about a project under near-slave-labor conditions in some of those sweatshops.

    • by mentus (775129) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:39PM (#42824965) Homepage
      Don't complay too much. The convenience vs security balance can all too quickly pend to the [lack of the] former. Doing online banking in Brazil in any of the major banks is becoming a major PITA. Santander for instance, requires you to install a browser plugin (available in native version for IE or Firefox, or via Java in the case of Chrome) just to be able to login to the IB. You also need a special IB-only password which must be numbers and letters (mixed-cased), and if you type it incorrectly more than 2 times, they automatically suspend your IB password and you need to talk to your account manager to be able to unblock it.

      Do you think that's all? Nope. With that you can only use IB in 'read only mode', not being able to perform any transaction that might make a debit to your account. Then you have to request a 'codes card', with is basically a very cheap version of a token, albeit a little less secure. Upon completion of each transaction you'd be required to type one of the codes in your card. Thing is, fraudters caught up to that pretty quicly, and started sending phising mail where they'd lead the baits to a website passing as the bank asking them to type all their codes for 'security purposes'.

      So then they made it compulsory to register each computer you use IB with, therefore forcing you to use a whitelist to enable trusted computers. You actually have to go in person to an ATM machine and use your debit card + 3 letter PIN + 4 digit debit PIN to authorize each computer. Thing is, so many people have machines so full of malware that this wasn't enough to stop the fraudsters.

      Next in line was their latest addition: now in order to be able to make transactions online, not only you must have the IB password, install a proprietary browser 'security plugin', the token card, authorize your machine previously on an ATM with your debit card + 3 letter PIN + 4 digit debit PIN, you also must have a mobile phone on your file with the bank. Then, after you use all your passwords and code card in a trusted machine, they then generate a 7-digit code that is send via SMS to your mobile phone (which can also be only updated in person or in an ATM with both pins).

      What if you don't have a mobile phone? What if you don't have signal at the moment you want to perform the transaction? What if your phone battery is out of charge? Well, tough luck, you'll have to go to a Santander ATM machine, because all these security paranoia features are mandatory...

      The thing is, this a perfect example of adverse selection in effect, so now every bank is demanding you to install proprietary plugins (which are usually modified rootkits themselves..) to ensure the safety of your machine before being able to use any IB. Some are already demaning the use of SMS on a per-transaction basis and the process of using IB is getting more inconvenient by the day...

      When I compare that with the breeze that is using the IB for my HSBC account in the US... it makes me wonder how much inconvenience is enough to tolerate...
  • There's going to be a shift from passwords in general. Not only are they often insecure, but there's no verification that the person typing in the password is the user who owns it.

    No, we're going to switch to biological means. This will be more secure, but as a side effect, there will be more assaults in which the eye/finger/penis is removed and used to gain access to these bio-protected systems.

    • Sometimes the penis will be used without it being removed...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      From the point of view of an remotely-accessible device, biometrics and passwords are identical. Any device can send a bit string and claim to have obtained it from a biometric scan, even if the bio in question is not present. As a result, they do not solve the problem of verifying the identity of a user.

      Even worse, you end up using essentially the same password for everything, it can never be changed, and you carry it around everywhere you go on your face or hands.

    • by elucido (870205)

      There's going to be a shift from passwords in general. Not only are they often insecure, but there's no verification that the person typing in the password is the user who owns it.

      No, we're going to switch to biological means. This will be more secure, but as a side effect, there will be more assaults in which the eye/finger/penis is removed and used to gain access to these bio-protected systems.

      If someone has to remove your penis to get your password perhaps you should choose another profession.

  • by pwnies (1034518) <j@jjcm.org> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:12PM (#42824505) Homepage Journal
    Don't use a longer password, just use two factor authentication.
    • by swilde23 (874551) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:21PM (#42824651) Journal

      As long as it's actual two-factor authentication. None of the fake crap that people call two-factor.

      For the record, asking me to pick a picture isn't a second form. Something you know, something you have, etc...

      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:37PM (#42824929) Homepage Journal

        As long as it's actual two-factor authentication. None of the fake crap that people call two-factor.

        No kidding. My bank (I really need to change) uses two factor authentication. To log in you have to know both the username and the password! In order to make this more secure, they apply password quality requirements to both. Yes, that's right, your username must be mixed case and contain alphabetic and numeric characters, and must be at least 8 characters in length. Symbols are not allowed, however, since that would just be weird.

        For the record, asking me to pick a picture isn't a second form.

        Most places that use a picture aren't using it as a second authentication factor. It's an anti-phishing countermeasure. The idea is that you pick a picture when you set up your account and then every time you log in you should see your picture. If you don't see your picture, then you know you aren't really looking at your bank's (or whatever) web site, but an attack site. Of course it's not an effective countermeasure against attack sites that use your credentials to connect to the real bank site in the background, get the picture from the bank and then show you what you expected to see. But it does prevent some phishing.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@woCURIErld3.net minus physicist> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:41PM (#42826081) Homepage

          Apologies for picking on you, but I'm getting fed up with deliberately unverifiable anecdotes on Slashdot. You could easily say which bank with no risk to yourself or the bank, simultaneously allowing us to confirm what you say and avoid said bank ourselves. But no, you deliberately keep it vague and avoid mentioning the name.

          I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here. You probably aren't karma whoring with a make-up anecdote that is sure to please the Slashdot masses. A lot of posters clearly are being deliberately non-specific to make their made-up story impossible to disprove though.

          • by swillden (191260)

            You could easily say which bank with no risk to yourself or the bank, simultaneously allowing us to confirm what you say and avoid said bank ourselves. But no, you deliberately keep it vague and avoid mentioning the name.

            I didn't do it deliberately, just didn't do it.

            First Bank of Colorado. http://www.efirstbank.com./ [www.efirstbank.com] Though if you really want to check my anecdote you'll have to go to a branch and open an account.

    • Almost a good solution. But it isn't free, which is a problem. Your bank can issue two-factor authentication easily enough, as can any website of significant value. But what about, for example, a website like Tribal Wars: They have a great many users, but only a tiny per-user income. They survive by keeping the per-user cost low (There's a reason the site is mostly text). If you ask them to spend $15 to buy and mail a dongle to every user, they'll go out of business in an instant. So what do you propose? Th

      • by swillden (191260)

        Use Google Authenticator. The app runs on all Android and iOS devices and you can download an SDK to implement support for it in your system. If you do that, Google is not involved in the login process at all, you're just using their (open source) software, so there's no privacy impact.

        However, it's also worth pointing out that using third-party authentications from Facebook, Google, etc. via OAuth also doesn't really impact privacy as much as you might think. The third-party authenticator only knows that

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        If Google can provide an App for my phone that provides the second factor (Google Authenticator [google.com]), then any other company should be able to do the same. Offer a separate "dongle" for anybody who doesn't have a smart phone and you are set. You could probably make a dongle that supported giving out keys for multiple sites. So instead of having a separate dongle for each service you subscribe to, you have a single dongle which can give out different keys for all services. This would probably work much like an
  • Duh...OK. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:12PM (#42824511)

    hunter22

  • It sounds like Deloitte has been partying like its 1999.
  • I'll change it to 123456
  • I love old news. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:15PM (#42824561) Homepage

    The relationship between password length and password strength is old news.

    But don't tell users, tell the programmers and system admins. I regularly encounter systems where max password length is 12 or fewer characters. For some reason there are also systems that don't allow characters other than letters and numbers in passwords.

    Let us make longer, more secure passwords. Let us use special characters, unicode, tabs and spaces!

    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      For years a password that was at least eight characters long and included mixed-case letters, at least one number, and one non-alphanumeric symbol was considered relatively strong.

      Yes, and those years were 1999 to 2004.

    • 12? I know a freaking BANK where the character limit for the password is 8. Yep 8 character password to online banking.
      • Re:I love old news. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:53PM (#42825229) Homepage Journal

        12? I know a freaking BANK where the character limit for the password is 8. Yep 8 character password to online banking.

        I was an IBM security consultant for about 10 years. I worked for all sorts of corporations big and small, talking to them about their security practices. Do you know which industry consistently had the worst security practices? Banking. It's amazing. I once talked to a bank that moves very large amounts of money (9+ figures) daily in wire transfers, communicated by kermit transfer of unencrypted files over a dialup modem. This was around 2005, and it actually wouldn't shock me to learn they're still doing it the same way.

        Now I work for Google, and part of my job entails setting up secure communications with banks. Almost without exception every bank tries to argue us into lowering our security requirements. It's not like we're asking for anything crazy, either: strong encryption and mutual authentication using standard algorithms and protocols and adequately-large keys (e.g. 2048-bit RSA, 128-bit AES, etc.), with proper key exchange protocols and periodic key rotations. It's not rocket science, but it's beyond the IT staff of most banks.

        I am frankly amazed that there aren't more major security breaches in our banking infrastructure.

  • dongle hangin!
  • I'd be more than happy to use long, more secure passwords if I'd be allowed to let my device memorize them. More and more sites are using the HTML option that denies autofill, keeping devices from memorizing passwords on them.

    It should be possible to tell a device to ignore that HTML option if you have a passkey set on the device. Not letting devices remember passwords is less secure than just allowing it because people will use weaker, easier to type in passwords.

    Not to mention Google's bad habit of making

    • by pmontra (738736)
      Use keepassx [keepassx.org]. Usernames and password won't be stored into your browser and that could be annoying but you'll always be able to paste them into any login form. Or at least I never experienced any problem. There is also an Android version and you can copy the password db file among devices (dropbox or manual file copy).
  • by Secret Agent Man (915574) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:16PM (#42824577) Homepage
    • Minimum lengths? Sounds good.
    • Require a non-alphanumeric symbol? Sounds good.
    • Must have at least one lowercase letter, capital letter, punctuation, number? Uh...
    • Max length of 12 characters. Wat?

    Some password requirements are perfectly acceptable, even encouraged. There exist plenty, however, that just make one scratch one's head. Why would a maximum length any lower than several hundred characters ever be necessary? More egregious limitations include requiring an insanely complex number of symbol/letter/number combinations (easy for AI, hard for humans, as XKCD eloquently points out) and, of course, passwords restricted to numbers only. Sadly financial institutions seem to be fond of this one, possibly under the mentality that a PIN is just as good as a password, and customers won't forget that!

    • There are two reasons I can think of the maximum length limits:
      - Badly-written software using too-short fixed space allocations.
      - Reducing the number of users who come up with a super-secure long password, but forget it themselves by the next day.

    • by PRMan (959735)

      Why would a maximum length any lower than several hundred characters ever be necessary?

      Because it's on a mainframe. I worked for a place where there was a limit of 8 alphanumeric characters because they didn't want to change the width of the mainframe column. I finally convinced them to have a long, hashed web password separate from the mainframe that then looked up the (of course unencrypted) mainframe password and then fed the mainframe password into it for the call. While still insecure internally, at least we were secure EXTERNALLY.

  • Secret Plans (Score:5, Informative)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:17PM (#42824601)

    I think some places encourage short passwords. StudentLoans.com is Citibank's site for, you guessed it, student loans. The MAX password length is eight characters. That only encouraged me to pay off my loan to them faster just so I wouldn't have to deal with security like that.

    Of course, nowhere in the signup do they warn you that only the first eight characters of your password will be accepted, nor does the login box limit you to inputting eight characters. I signed up with abcdef12345678 and tried signing in with abcdef12345678 but it gave me password refused. By luck, I tried abcdef12 and it worked. Screw Citi and all of the others still using password schemes from the early 90s

  • We should encourage the use of longer passphrases rather than passwords and eliminate or raise limits on their length. It's much easier to remember a sentence than a string of random characters.

    Too many banks in the US also have limits on both user names and passwords. :(

  • Use TPM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chemisor (97276) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:21PM (#42824675)

    Instead, store your password on a TPM chip, from where the hash can not be stolen and where the attempt rate can be regulated. This way even 7 character passwords can be quite secure.

  • by PPH (736903)

    passwordpasswordpassword

  • by Junta (36770) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:24PM (#42824735)
    If 99% of sites didn't put such a restrictive short length on their password length. I can remember and don't mind typing a pretty long sentence, but then the site generally complains because of the spaces or because I exceeded something silly like a 33 character limit. I will also say that some forbid special characters, some require. If you are going to stick me with no more than about 12 characters and refuse use of symbols like & and $, it's asinine. If you see that I have a 48 character password and complain that not one of them is 'special', you are impairing my ability to use a memorable password of appropriate length...
  • no solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:25PM (#42824747) Homepage Journal

    Password length matters to brute force attacks - and if your application allows a brute force attack to happen, it is broken already, insecure by design.

    Enforcing longer passwords will not improve security for real-life cases. Enforcing more cryptic passwords will actually reduce security for real-life cases. Why? Because people will need to type slower, making shoulder-surfing easier. People will start to write passwords down, and they will re-use passwords more often.

    You can't solve this issue with simple solutions like "use longer passwords". The only thing that will do is make "password1234" the new standard instead of just "password".

  • not my problem (Score:4, Informative)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:30PM (#42824809)

    I've got logins for what... 200 sites? This is a problem for the sites, not me.
    Passwords don't work. Think of something new. I can not remember 200 passwords that are 9+ characters, can't contain real words, have special charcters and God knows what else.

    The solution for the end user? Don't use these sites for anything important. Don't store and personal information. Don't do business with sites that retain your credit card number and give you no option to not store it.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:30PM (#42824815)

    I speak all my passwords aloud into either my desktop microphone, laptop microphone or mobile microphone. This allows me to use the longest phrases without having any difficulty typing. People get a bit annoyed when I'm using the computers at the library but I explain it's all in the best interest of security.

  • by elucido (870205) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:35PM (#42824891)

    So this (just use an 8 character password) is for sissies. I also don't write my passwords down and they include special characters, large and small letters, numbers, and are completely random. It's not possible to crack a 25 random character password. I suggest everyone follow me and use 25 characters at least.

  • by Empiric (675968) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @05:44PM (#42825057) Homepage

    This strikes me as largely a non-issue caused by poor login security design.

    Why not simply code the authentication such that for every successive request that fails to a given account, an enforced delay of, say, the square of the number of sequential login failures to that account, in seconds, is applied before the next attempt?

    This would allow for actual humans to make several errors at an slowly-increasing wait each time, whereas for a scripted attack, after 200 tries we're up to 11 hours per try and growing fast. It seems that a brute-force attack becomes entirely unlikely to succeed under these conditions.

    Standard Linux distros interject a delay between login attempts, why isn't this considered basic and expected good design for all login authentication contexts?

  • by cashman73 (855518) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:16PM (#42825653) Journal
    What about a variant of Rodney McKay's password from Stargate Atlantis? "16431879196842" -- use the year of Isaac Newton's birth, the year of Albert Einstein's birth, your birth year, and the number 42. You could swap out the birth years of other famous supergeniuses and even add a third person for added security. I bet CowboyNeal uses the birth years of CmdrTaco and his mom for his password,. . . ;-)
  • by erice (13380) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:23PM (#42825761) Homepage

    I at least try to use better passwords for more important logins. I don't waste brain power or worse resuse high quality passwords for sites where it really doesn't matter if my account gets hacked.

    The annoying trend I see that the sites that most often enforce "better" passwords are the ones I don't care about. Must have at least one upper and one lower character, must have a non-alpha numeric character, no more than two consecutive characters: All this just so I can post to a web forum. Meanwhile the bank will accept almost anything.

  • by virgnarus (1949790) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @06:41PM (#42826073)
    It's 2155, and Daniel Vectorstar, our resident security analyst, states that everyone this year should keep their passwords to a minimum of at least 3 pages, single-spaced...
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:49PM (#42827511)

    Who in their sane mind (in ITSEC, that is) is still dabbling with brute force problems? Seriously, Deloitte, stick with economy audits, at least there you can't do much more harm than has already been done to this economy, but stay out of real work, will ya? At least we could do without your "recommendations" to your clients to require bizarre combinations of characters from their employees that only leads to them noting them down on a post-it and stick it underneath their keyboards (which, oddly, you do NOT have a recommendation against ... but I ramble).

    Whether your password has 3 or 30 characters, and how many special characters in what odd combination and how many generations back you may not repeat even 2 of those characters again is moot. NOBODY on the "other side" bothers with brute forcing anymore. Passwords are being sniffed, hacked or simply lifted in other ways, from keyloggers to the good old "this is your IT-department on the phone, we need your password". And when I have your secretary TELL me her password, it's frickin' pointless to make it 100 chars long. Only means I have to talk to her longer. Which, I admit, may or may not be a nuisance to me when I get tasked with testing something you "secured". Depending on how nasty the voice of the person I audit is.

    The security hole is NOT the length of your password. Get with the times, brute forcing just simply and plainly takes too long. Even if it's only a 3 char password, there are simply ways that get the attacker access far easier, more reliably and with a lot less effort.

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