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Self-Service Password Reset & Social Engineering: A Match Made In Hell
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cstevo
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cstevo,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/9/2016 | 2:53:08 PM
Well written and you must consider using a more modern solution
Thank you for the well written article-

Fortunately the trend is moving away from these "old-school" question/answer enrollment types of SSPR systems that have been around for 10+ years. Anyone considering use of a SSPR product should use one that employs newer more secure methods of user enrollment -as well as- a more secure underlying application architecture (Important!).


Another big thing always overlooked is the security of the SSPR application software itself. Most products don't use anything more than SSL for on-page web security, and most all of them require using domain administrative credentials inside the web application directly. Still others provide "Admin page" access within the same web application. Most all of these products will need to reside on a domain member server and have a local database containing all of the secure user enrollment data.

All of this is exploit waiting to happen and not the type of server you want to expose to the internet for remote user convenience. Savvy hackers will not bother with going thriugh the UI and guessing answers, they will instead attempt to exploit the web application or server itself using automation tools. Once the web appliction or server is compromised, there is usually a treasure trove of user enrollment data stored in a local SQL or mySQL database, as well as other domain intenral information.

There are good, secure SSPR products out there which help prevent these common exploit issues. You just need to put a bit deeper thought into your product selection because you'll find that most of them are not built securely and are only suitable for use inside a secure LAN. Good security for this type of product is going to go deeper than just the user-facing access mode itself.

 
steelaworkn
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steelaworkn,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/19/2016 | 3:34:43 PM
Nothing is Simple these days
Regardless of the approach, password management is becoming more difficult.  With the security questions, I never answer the same thing twice.  The only thing I reuse is my usernames.  My passwords and everything else are different and never identical to the next.  

Those people associated with high profile companies should be vary savvy when joining social media sites.  The should neve divulge exploitable information.  Social Media sites are all about making lots of money.  Nothing should be considered secure.
theb0x
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theb0x,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2016 | 10:45:06 AM
Re: Answers to security questions can be anything
My birthday is every day on Facebook.
theb0x
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theb0x,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2016 | 10:12:46 AM
Security Through Obscurity
You failed to mention that the most effective method with setting SSPR questions is to provide answers to questions that are completely obscure and irrelevent to question itself. 

The SSPR system must also be well designed. For example, input of answers must allow full alphanumeric characters. This set must include both upper and lower case letters, punctuation marks, and symbols (such as @, &, and *, for example).

I would take this even a step further and include the entire ASCII table.

SSPR input validation must also be strictly throttled, monitored, include GEOIP filtering, and a CAPTCHA to help prevent the scripting of automated form submissions.

 

 

 
theb0x
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theb0x,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2016 | 10:09:17 AM
Re: Answers to security questions can be anything
This does not take it far enough. RoverDog1! is still relivent to the question at hand.
Jackson_Shaw
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Jackson_Shaw,
User Rank: Author
6/16/2016 | 9:40:39 AM
Re: Good point
Indeed. The moral of the story is you need to review this stuff regularly. For me, once in 10 years was clearly insufficient!
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 3:09:57 PM
Re: Answers to security questions can be anything
Good point >> There is no rule stating that you have to answer truthfully when entering your security questions.

Nor do you have to give the same answers all the time, but keeping track is difficult

And never give your birthdate out unless it has security -- all those people wishing you happy birthday on Facebook is a bit of a giveaway right there
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2016 | 3:09:47 PM
Re: Answers to security questions can be anything
Good point >> There is no rule stating that you have to answer truthfully when entering your security questions.

Nor do you have to give the same answers all the time, but keeping track is difficult

And never give your birthdate out unless it has security -- all those people wishing you happy birthday on Facebook is a bit of a giveaway right there
mnwvpn
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mnwvpn,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/14/2016 | 9:30:23 AM
Answers to security questions can be anything
There is no rule stating that you have to answer truthfully when entering your security questions.  When asked for the name of your first pet for instance, you could answer RoverDog1! even though your first pet was Fido.  A password safe makes a convenient storage place for this information.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
6/14/2016 | 7:50:16 AM
Good point
I think one of the best points raised in this piece is that some security information we may have forgotten about is years or maybe even over a decade old. That's really problematic and is very difficult to change, because there's no way we have all kept track of our accounts on every service we picked up and dropped over the years.

Yet alone kept out security information tight. 

I often worry that some old service I was a part of will come back to haunt me with its lax passwords and still valid data. I may have moved on in terms of emails and passwords, but personal data not doubt still resides on some long dead accounts.


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