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
Aviation Faces Increasing Cybersecurity Scrutiny
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/22/2019
Microsoft Tops Phishers' Favorite Brands as Facebook Spikes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/22/2019
MoviePass Leaves Credit Card Numbers, Personal Data Exposed Online
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/21/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
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-2016-6154
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
The authentication applet in Watchguard Fireware 11.11 Operating System has reflected XSS (this can also cause an open redirect).
CVE-2019-5594
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
An Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation ("Cross-site Scripting") in Fortinet FortiNAC 8.3.0 to 8.3.6 and 8.5.0 admin webUI may allow an unauthenticated attacker to perform a reflected XSS attack via the search field in the webUI.
CVE-2019-6695
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
Lack of root file system integrity checking in Fortinet FortiManager VM application images of all versions below 6.2.1 may allow an attacker to implant third-party programs by recreating the image through specific methods.
CVE-2019-12400
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
In version 2.0.3 Apache Santuario XML Security for Java, a caching mechanism was introduced to speed up creating new XML documents using a static pool of DocumentBuilders. However, if some untrusted code can register a malicious implementation with the thread context class loader first, then this im...
CVE-2019-15092
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-23
The webtoffee "WordPress Users & WooCommerce Customers Import Export" plugin 1.3.0 for WordPress allows CSV injection in the user_url, display_name, first_name, and last_name columns in an exported CSV file created by the WF_CustomerImpExpCsv_Exporter class.