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
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Mobile Banking Malware Up 50% in First Half of 2019
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/17/2020
Exploits Released for As-Yet Unpatched Critical Citrix Flaw
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  1/13/2020
Microsoft to Officially End Support for Windows 7, Server 2008
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7227
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
Westermo MRD-315 1.7.3 and 1.7.4 devices have an information disclosure vulnerability that allows an authenticated remote attacker to retrieve the source code of different functions of the web application via requests that lack certain mandatory parameters. This affects ifaces-diag.asp, system.asp, ...
CVE-2019-15625
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A memory usage vulnerability exists in Trend Micro Password Manager 3.8 that could allow an attacker with access and permissions to the victim's memory processes to extract sensitive information.
CVE-2019-19696
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A RootCA vulnerability found in Trend Micro Password Manager for Windows and macOS exists where the localhost.key of RootCA.crt might be improperly accessed by an unauthorized party and could be used to create malicious self-signed SSL certificates, allowing an attacker to misdirect a user to phishi...
CVE-2019-19697
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
An arbitrary code execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2019 (v15) consumer family of products which could allow an attacker to gain elevated privileges and tamper with protected services by disabling or otherwise preventing them to start. An attacker must already have administr...
CVE-2019-20357
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-18
A Persistent Arbitrary Code Execution vulnerability exists in the Trend Micro Security 2020 (v160 and 2019 (v15) consumer familiy of products which could potentially allow an attacker the ability to create a malicious program to escalate privileges and attain persistence on a vulnerable system.