Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint //

Authentication

9/16/2014
12:15 PM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail vvv
50%
50%

DR Radio: A Grown-Up Conversation About Passwords

Cormac Herley of Microsoft Research will challenge everything you think you know about password management.

We all know the rules. At least eight characters; combination of lowercase, uppercase, numerals, and special characters; different for every account; changed periodically; and never stored in plain text anywhere, not even on a Post-it note. Those are the golden rules for password management we all know, advise, and (probably) follow... but maybe we're wrong.

Over the past few months, the public has been hammered with data breaches, including those that exposed passwords. Security experts have been thrust into the public eye, in newspapers and on television, urging, begging, and warning users to improve their password practices. Yet Cormac Herley, principal researcher at Microsoft Research, says that it's time to stop putting all the responsibility on end users -- time to stop the blaming and shaming. Not only is following the rules too difficult, says Herley, but it isn't even worth the effort.

Herley's recent work on passwords, with Dinei Florencio and Paul C. van Oorschot, includes statements like "a [password] portfolio strategy ruling out weak passwords or password re-use is sub-optimal," and if the IT department doesn't do its job well, "there is no attack scenario where the [user's] extra effort protects the account."

Sound crazy? Want to know how they came to those conclusions? Then don't miss the next episode of Dark Reading Radio, "A Grown-Up Conversation About Passwords," tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 am PT, with our guest, Cormac Herley.

Have questions you want us to ask? Let us know in the comments below. If we can't get to those questions during the audio interview, never fear -- you'll have the chance to ask him questions yourself, during the live chat session happening alongside the broadcast.

Don't miss this chance to challenge all your assumptions about password management. Register now.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
HAnatomi
50%
50%
HAnatomi,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/19/2014 | 8:51:12 PM
Re: Not only texts but also images
I wonderif you will have a look at the document posted by a Japanese company Mnemonic Security at

 " mneme.blog.eonet.jp/default/files/outline_of_mnemonic_security.pdf "  Add h t t p / /

and a blogsite

 " mnemonicguard.blogspot.jp/ " Add h t t p / /

 that I am following.
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
9/19/2014 | 9:51:26 AM
Re: Not only texts but also images
HAnatomi -- What would be an example of a known versus unkown image? and how would that work as an authentication factor?
HAnatomi
50%
50%
HAnatomi,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/19/2014 | 3:19:29 AM
Re: Not only texts but also images
It is perhaps impossible for anyone to remember 100 UNKNOWN images afresh.  The images to be used for passwords should be the KNOWN images of our episodic/autobiographic images, which are said to be the least vulerable to the cognitive phenomenon named "interference of memory".

 
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
9/18/2014 | 9:58:50 AM
Re: Not only texts but also images
That's intereting about images. But is the human brain capable of remembering 100 images, one unique authenticator for each app or web site? Or won't that be necessary with images?
HAnatomi
50%
50%
HAnatomi,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/18/2014 | 1:31:34 AM
Not only texts but also images
At the root of the password problem is the cognitive phenomena called "interference of memory", by which we cannot firmly remember more than 5 text passwords on average.  What worries us is not the password, but the textual password.  The textual memory is only a small part of what we remember.  We could think of making use of the larger part of our memory that is less subject to interference of memory.  More attention could be paid to the efforts of expanding the password system to include images, particularly KNOWN images, as well as conventional texts.

 

Most of the humans are thousands times better at dealing with image memories than text memories. The former dates back to hundreds of millions of years ago while the latter's history is less than a fraction of it.I wonder what merits we have in confining ourselves in the narrow corridor of text memories when CPUs are fast enough, bandwidth broad enough, memory storage cheap enough, and cameras built in mobile devices.
Kelly Jackson Higgins
50%
50%
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
9/17/2014 | 3:15:04 PM
Re: No shortage of opinions on this topic!
Really great interview and discussion with Cormac, Sara. His provocative perspective on passwords really generated some great discussion and debate. And of course, there's no good answer for authentication. =)
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
9/16/2014 | 3:54:56 PM
No shortage of opinions on this topic!
This should be lively discussion, Sara. Everyone has an opinion on passwords - and we've had our share of them on Dark Reading! Andrey Dulkin of CyberArk Research Labs weighed in in July on "Weak Password Advice From Microsoft" (http://www.darkreading.com/operations/identity-and-access-management/weak-password-advice-from-microsoft/a/d-id/1297592) and today,  Corey Nachreiner, of WatchGuard Technologies, gave a qualified "Defense of Passwords" -- as long as you use them correctly along with something else (http://www.darkreading.com/operations/in-defense-of-passwords/a/d-id/1315719?). 

Let the debate begin! 
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Old IT Things Every New InfoSec Pro Should Know
Joan Goodchild, Staff Editor,  4/20/2021
News
Cloud-Native Businesses Struggle With Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  5/6/2021
Commentary
Defending Against Web Scraping Attacks
Rob Simon, Principal Security Consultant at TrustedSec,  5/7/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-20092
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
File Upload vulnerability exists in ArticleCMS 1.0 via the image upload feature at /admin by changing the Content-Type to image/jpeg and placing PHP code after the JPEG data, which could let a remote malicious user execute arbitrary PHP code.
CVE-2020-21342
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
Insecure permissions issue in zzcms 201910 via the reset any user password in /one/getpassword.php.
CVE-2020-25713
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
A malformed input file can lead to a segfault due to an out of bounds array access in raptor_xml_writer_start_element_common.
CVE-2020-27823
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
A flaw was found in OpenJPEG’s encoder. This flaw allows an attacker to pass specially crafted x,y offset input to OpenJPEG to use during encoding. The highest threat from this vulnerability is to confidentiality, integrity, as well as system availability.
CVE-2020-27830
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-13
A vulnerability was found in Linux Kernel where in the spk_ttyio_receive_buf2() function, it would dereference spk_ttyio_synth without checking whether it is NULL or not, and may lead to a NULL-ptr deref crash.