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Yes, In The Internet Of Everything, Things Will Have Passwords
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Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
12/20/2013 | 8:52:04 AM
Poor 'Things' -- I hope they have postit notes
Hi Patrick! It was fascinating to learn about the authentication process in an IoT world. Is it too much to hope that "things" will ultimately  lead to a login process that we humans will be finally able to manage?  
WKash
WKash,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/20/2013 | 4:03:49 PM
Our Things
Appreciated reading your perspective. One of the interesting points you raise is how many devices will eventually be working on our behalf.  Not only do we have a hard time now keeping track of all our accounts, but what about all the digital sensors working on our behalf -- some we think about, others we don't -- in our homes, our cars, at work, in transit. And that's not to mention all the things that will monitor us. 
J_Brandt
J_Brandt,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/23/2013 | 6:33:49 PM
Scary
Something has to change, or its going to be very scary world where your commode, refrigerator, front door lock, thermostat, toaster, egg holder and everything else is on the 'net.  There will be change, but it looks like it will come too late to unify the IoT.
PaulS681
PaulS681,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/23/2013 | 8:19:00 PM
Re: Scary
Things storing passwords is a bit scary. As Patrick points out they could be a target for hackers (no pun intended). Things with passwords is an interesting futuristic concept although the future is now. I will be interested to see how these things manage passwords.
shamika
shamika,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/28/2013 | 9:44:27 PM
Re: Scary
Interesting article and thanks for sharing this information. This article shows  the exact workflow on how things happen which we see as a simple task. 
shamika
shamika,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/28/2013 | 9:45:01 PM
Re: Scary
"For humans, passwords are challenging" this is true. When we use passwords it is always important to look for strong passwords otherwise it can hacked easily. There are enough and more password hackers in the current market.
shamika
shamika,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/28/2013 | 9:45:34 PM
Re: Scary
The best combination of password's always consist of characters with both lower and uppercase, special symbols and numbers. Those considered being more stronger.
jgherbert
jgherbert,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/30/2013 | 4:01:45 PM
Re: Scary
@shamika: "The best combination of password's always consist of characters with both lower and uppercase, special symbols and numbers. Those considered being more stronger."

As they say, it isn't what you have, it's what you do with it. If the way in which we use those various characters is predictable, then even an encrypted hash of the password could be easily crackable. e.g. If you take a dictionary word like "notebook" and the password is "N0t3b00k!" - i.e. first letter capitalized, all vowels replaced with numbers, bang on the end, I would wager the password would not last long with a good cracker, yet it meets your stated requirements.

So maybe let's add to those requirements "...has decent length, is pseudo-random and does not follow predictable patterns" or something like that? Whatever the definition is, what it comes down to is that a "good", "secure" password is exactly the kind of password that's not memorable, and that sucks.
shamika
shamika,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/28/2013 | 9:46:05 PM
Re: Scary
@ WKash, Interesting point you have highlighted. I believe it is an important aspect to look in to.
jgherbert
jgherbert,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/30/2013 | 3:46:34 PM
Re: Scary
@PaulS681: "Things storing passwords is a bit scary."

 

Agreed; and this is why it may be preferable to have a device holding a digital token on your behalf (like giving a Twitter app the ability to do things via API) giving them per permission to (a) do limited things, possible (b) for a limited time, and (c) revokable on demand. While this doesn't prevent credential theft, it does at least limit the impact of what that theft can achieve. You wouldn't, for example, want your thermostat to hold a copy of your password for your online banking just so it can pay the gas bill for you automatically or something; you'd want it to have permission only to pay a bill, only to a pre-determined recipient (the gas company) and for a limited value. Probably a bad example, but you get the idea. I like the concept that apps (or items in the IoE/IoT) can ask for permission to do things and I can grant it, with restrictions, and not have to actually deal with a password for the device.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
1/2/2014 | 8:35:55 AM
Re: Scary "Things storing passwords"
Confession: I took a little liberty with the headline  to add a tongue-in-cheek element of playful humor and hyperbole reflecting on Pat's tone inorder to grab your attention. And it worked, judging by the string of comments. But in the article itself, it is very clear that Pat is talking primarily about identity and the IoT. I think he does a great job comparing what having an online identity means for people versus things.
jgherbert
jgherbert,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/30/2013 | 3:56:37 PM
Password Managers
"Evolution has wired us to find it easier-to-remember gossip and stories about hunting bison than strings of characters, so we cheat by choosing the shortest and easiest to recall we can get away with."

On a slight tangent from the main point of the article, the standard response to moaning about passwords is to be told "use a password manager". I've discovered that so far, at least, they're good for storing things, but really are not as convenient as they should be in terms of how they integrate both with systems requesting authentication, and with cross-platform support.

For example, most password apps allow you to auto-generate a password for a web site (a good long random(isj) mix of character types creating an utterly unmemorable password). That's fine, but now I MUST have that password written down (stored in the manager) for that site. Next time I go to that site, I have to find that password in my manager. Some will spot that I'm on the site and offer up a shortcut to go get the password; some will enter it for me once I find it; and - many fewer - will spot that I'm on the site and automatically log me in. So far so good, but now I'm on my iPhone and want to log in. First of all, using a complex password to protect my password manager is a pain on a mobile device's soft keyboard, which is an immediate turn off - all those special characters and upper/lower case shifts makes a 12-character password require 22 keypresses to complete. Then I have the same problem - the best I might achieve is to find the site entry, copy it, then go back to the browser and paste it in. It's a very cumbersome process.

I've worked with one SSO system in the past, and it was quite good - login when you bootup and after that it was able to log in to almost every system on your behalf. Certainly almost every website authentication request could be managed, and even some apps. That's what I need on my phone too, plus automatic cloud sync between my phones and computers (I have mac, PC, iPhone and Windows Phone, so I need cross-platform support). When that comes, I don't mind having a highly complex password for my SSO manager and complex passwords for every site, because I only have to login to my SSO once per session. Oh - and yes, this does rather imply on a mobile phone that a PIN and automatic screen lock is a necessity, and that automatic password-protected screen savers were likewise a necessity on computers. Add to that the concept that a single login failure should trigger a logout of the SSO client so that brute forcing wouldn't get you access to a system with SSO enabled, and we have something that might actually be vaguely usable. Let me know when you find that, would you?
asksqn
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2013 | 10:45:38 PM
Get a password remembering plugin
The priblem is not one of memory as much as it is having to surrender more info than what is necessary for A to authenticate C, D and E. Case in point: Mobile apps with my way or the highway TOS. The app wants e access to everything short of a blood sacrifice and a drug screen, and, if the user does not agree carte blanche, then the app won't install. This type of shrinkwrapped agreement is neither secure nor private and does not inspire confidence from those of us who are technically savvy.


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