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.

Perimeter

3/18/2013
12:42 PM
Gunnar Peterson
Gunnar Peterson
Commentary
50%
50%

Your Password Is The Crappiest Identity Your Kid Will Ever See

Ever watch an episode of 'Mad Men' and see everyone smoking? Some kid in 2045 will look at their parent and ask, did you really have to enter a password that many times?

It's easy to look back a few decades or centuries and wonder, "Geez, how could they have been so stupid/racist/unhealthy/shortsighted?" For example, watch "Mad Men" and you'll see Don Draper downing a half-dozen martinis at lunch and smoke heaters all day. What were you thinking, Don? It's easy to find fault.

What is hard is to think about what are we doing right now, and that in 30 years people will say: "What the heck were they thinking?" For me an easy one here is passwords.

Some day, our kids and grandkids will say, "Can you believe the weakness in those ancient identity protocols?

"Can you believe they built up a whole digital society that rested on such a weak foundation?

"Can you believe the flow of power plants, electricity, water, weapons systems, healthcare services, money, and social interaction were built on top of protocols that were easily spoofed, stolen, and replayed?"

Some wiser soul will interject: "Never underestimate the power of inertia. It has a force all its own. After all, we've long wanted to swap out our algae-based fuel for space-based solar fuel, but the entrenched algaecrats keep holding us back. Why is that taking so long?" Everyone nods.

Some food for thought from this tweet by @techwithintent: "Your awesome smart phone is the crappiest tech your child will ever see. It's their Commodore 64."

The same applies to our current identity systems. They are the crappiest protocols our kids will ever see.

It seems certain to me that future generation will behold the imbalance of the sheer width and breath of the digital systems that we have managed to connect versus the weakness of security mechanisms with which we have tried to protect them; they will judge these actions crazy in retrospect. Enjoyable to get "solutions" to market quickly, but hazardous to our collective health in the long run. We blame users for password issues (you reused your password?), but this is no better than the Surgeon's General warning on a box of cigarettes: "May be Hazardous to Your Health." May?

Password strength? Security questions? Sounds like smoking low-tar cigarettes to me.

We know what eventually happens to the world of "Mad Men." We don't know what yet happens in identity and when, but it seems certain that passwords' future is going up in smoke, and people will wonder what took so long.

Gunnar Peterson is a Managing Principal at Arctec Group Gunnar Peterson (@oneraindrop) works on AppSec - Cloud, Mobile and Identity. He maintains a blog at http://1raindrop.typepad.com. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Where Businesses Waste Endpoint Security Budgets
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/15/2019
US Mayors Commit to Just Saying No to Ransomware
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/16/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-12815
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-19
An arbitrary file copy vulnerability in mod_copy in ProFTPD up to 1.3.5b allows for remote code execution and information disclosure without authentication, a related issue to CVE-2015-3306.
CVE-2019-13569
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-19
A SQL injection vulnerability exists in the Icegram Email Subscribers & Newsletters plugin through 4.1.7 for WordPress. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary SQL commands on the affected system.
CVE-2019-9228
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-19
** DISPUTED ** An issue was discovered on AudioCodes Mediant 500L-MSBR, 500-MBSR, M800B-MSBR and 800C-MSBR devices with firmware versions F7.20A at least to 7.20A.252.062. The (1) management SSH and (2) management TELNET features allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (connection slot e...
CVE-2019-12725
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-19
Zeroshell 3.9.0 is prone to a remote command execution vulnerability. Specifically, this issue occurs because the web application mishandles a few HTTP parameters. An unauthenticated attacker can exploit this issue by injecting OS commands inside the vulnerable parameters.
CVE-2019-11989
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-19
A security vulnerability in HPE IceWall SSO Agent Option and IceWall MFA (Agent module ) could be exploited remotely to cause a denial of service. The versions and platforms of Agent Option modules that are impacted are as follows: 10.0 for Apache 2.2 on RHEL 5 and 6, 10.0 for Apache 2.4 on RHEL 7, ...