[Owasp-leaders] Password complexity guidance

Cam Morris cam.morris at owasp.org
Mon Dec 16 20:01:10 UTC 2013


Cool paper.  Thanks for the link.  It does a much better job at analyzing
the strength of passwords.  It compares the complexity of passwords across
demographics and sites.  But it doesn't really deal with the effectiveness
of different policies, other than to say that the policies in place from
the leaked sites had little difference (no surprise there;)  It doesn't
refute the claim that a password policy that only requires longer passwords
is more effective.  None of those passwords analyzed had that kind of
password policy in place.

I think our recommendation for password policies should be: Throw away the
existing password policies and require a length of over 12-16 chars.
 Simple and more effective.



On Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 6:57 PM, Abbas Naderi <abbas.naderi at owasp.org>wrote:

> Well this paper says otherwise, and it has analysed 70 million passwords,
> and won the most effective paper award of its year:
> http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2310656.2310721
> -A
>
> On Dec 13, 2013, at 11:59 AM, Cam Morris <cam.morris at owasp.org> wrote:
>
> "My initial position is we should shift our guidance away from the old
> complex recommendation to a passphrase recommendation."
> - totally agree.  This paper http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1979321 studies
> the effects of different password policies to measure the difference in
> resulting password complexity. The only constraint they found that
> increased complexity was the length.  The rest of password policies had
> little effect. "Overall, they found that increasing minimum length was more
> effective than applying content constraints"
>
> As far as two-factor auth goes,  I love my two-factor auth with google and
> facebook but one of those factors is still a password. We'll still need to
> provide guidance on how to create them.  Would anyone be shocked if in
> twenty years we still have passwords?
>
> Also, +1 on having password managers suggested in the guidance.
>
>
> On Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 9:32 AM, Cam Morris <cam.morris at owasp.org> wrote:
>
>> Thanks Matt! I was just about to reply to tout OWASP Passfault ;)  It's
>> still in a "labs" state.  But we're working on it.   I'd love to have help
>> integrating it into active directory, etc.
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM, Matt Tesauro <matt.tesauro at owasp.org>wrote:
>>
>>> We should probably link to the OWASP Passfault project as well - once
>>> consensus is reached.
>>>
>>> Site: http://www.passfault.com/
>>>
>>> Project Page: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Passfault
>>>
>>> "When setting a password, Passfault examines the password, looking for
>>> common patterns. Passfault than measures the strength of the patterns and
>>> combinations of patterns. The end result is a more academic and accurate
>>> measurement of password strength."
>>>
>>> I generally agree that passphrases are better that short stings of
>>> gibberish.
>>>
>>> --
>>> -- Matt Tesauro
>>> OWASP WTE Project Lead
>>> http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Live_CD_Project
>>> http://AppSecLive.org <http://appseclive.org/> - Community and Download
>>> site
>>> OWASP OpenStack Security Project Lead
>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_OpenStack_Security_Project
>>>
>>>
>>> On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM, Michael Coates <
>>> michael.coates at owasp.org> wrote:
>>>
>>>> We have two references (and probably more - please send if you see
>>>> more) for password complexity.
>>>>
>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Password_length_%26_complexity
>>>>
>>>> https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Authentication_Cheat_Sheet#Implement_Proper_Password_Strength_Controls
>>>>
>>>> First - I agree passwords alone need to die. It's not sufficient. But
>>>> that said, passwords will be around until the next solution is ready. So,
>>>> in the interim we should provide the best guidance on selecting good
>>>> passwords.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I no longer agree with the approach of forcing users to select
>>>> gibberish passwords. I believe that passphrases are much better. They
>>>> achieve great entropy and are far easier for users to remember. My initial
>>>> position is we should shift our guidance away from the old complex
>>>> recommendation to a passphrase recommendation.
>>>>
>>>> Agree? Disagree? Interested in your thoughts.
>>>>
>>>> Whatever we do select, we should make sure we cross link so we don't
>>>> have multiple sources of information that could be out of date.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> --
>>>> Michael Coates
>>>> @_mwc
>>>>
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>>>>
>>>>
>>>
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>>>
>>
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