Tag Archives: passwords

Helping keep customers safe with leaked password notification

Post Syndicated from Garrett Galow original https://blog.cloudflare.com/helping-keep-customers-safe-with-leaked-password-notification

Password reuse is a real problem. When people use the same password across multiple services, it creates a risk that a breach of one service will give attackers access to a different, apparently unrelated, service. Attackers know people reuse passwords and build giant lists of known passwords and known usernames or email addresses.

If you got to the end of that paragraph and realized you’ve reused the same password multiple places, stop reading and go change those passwords. We’ll wait.

To help protect Cloudflare customers who have used a password attackers know about, we are releasing a feature to improve the security of the Cloudflare dashboard for all our customers by automatically checking whether their Cloudflare user password has appeared in an attacker’s list. Cloudflare will securely check a customer’s password against threat intelligence sources that monitor data breaches in other services.

If a customer logs in to Cloudflare with a password that was leaked in a breach elsewhere on the Internet, Cloudflare will alert them and ask them to choose a new password.

For some customers, the news that their password was known to hackers will come as a surprise – no one wants to intentionally use passwords that they know have been leaked elsewhere. To help customers avoid being locked out when they urgently need to use their Cloudflare dashboard, the leaked password check will provide a warning to the customer for the first three login attempts. After those three attempts, Cloudflare will require that the customer reset their password.

Resetting a leaked password is just the first step in Internet account security. The best way to protect your Cloudflare account, or any account, is to add two-factor authentication, such as using a hardware security key or an authenticator application, or to rely on a single sign-on integration. Cloudflare makes it easy for any user to add two-factor authentication security to their account through app-based codes, hardware keys, or passkeys. Cloudflare account Super Administrators can also require that all members enable two-factor authentication.

Whether or not a user has been impacted in a data breach, we encourage everyone to add two-factor authentication security to their Cloudflare account.

How do credentials leak?

Each time you authenticate to a service on the Internet with a username and password, that service can take a range of steps to protect your credentials.

More secure providers will hash the passwords. Hashing uses a cryptographic algorithm to convert the password into a random string of characters. Some platforms will layer on additional safeguards like a salt mechanism that introduces a random value to each password before the hashing process to ensure that two identical passwords do not have identical hashes.

These protections, combined with rate limits on login attempts, prevent brute force attacks. However, even for providers that adopt these best practices, users can still become victims of determined attackers when bad actors gain access to breached password databases. Attackers can collect compromised email password pairs to gain access to user accounts elsewhere as part of targeted attacks.

When vendors discover these kinds of compromised accounts, in many cases they will quickly force a password reset. However, resetting a leaked password in one application can still leave you vulnerable in other applications if you reused that password in other places and do not change your credentials everywhere.

That kind of password reuse means that an attacker can steal your credentials from one Internet service and try them against dozens of other popular destinations to see where you reuse the same password.

These so-called credential stuffing attacks have become more prevalent as breaches pile up. Attackers can sit on large troves of credentials for months or years, waiting to sell them to another bad actor or to use them in targeted attacks. For customers who want to protect themselves from these and other attacks that can compromise their end customer’s accounts, Cloudflare has solutions like bot management, exposed credential checks, and rate limiting available to help defend against these kinds of attacks

How can customers protect against the impact of leaked credentials?

If every password you use is unique, then a data breach in one vendor will be limited to just that particular system. For that reason, we encourage users to adopt a password manager that can create and remember unique passwords for each service that you use. Thankfully, the most popular operating systems now include password managers by default, and multiplatform third party options also make it easy for users to adopt this practice.

However, unique passwords are still vulnerable to phishing attacks. The best way to protect any Internet account is to add two-factor authentication (2FA). Two-factor authentication provides a comprehensive defense against credential stuffing attacks. When using two-factor authentication to log in, you must use your password and, for example, a one-time code from an app or a tap on a physical hardware key. The password alone is not enough to access your account.

Adoption of two-factor authentication, specifically hardware keys, has been shown to be able to eliminate 99.9% of account takeovers, since the attacker must also get access to your second factor in addition to your password. In the case of hardware keys, they need to physically obtain the key.

How does Cloudflare check for leaked credentials?

When a user attempts to log into Cloudflare, we will check if the password used has been leaked in a known data breach of another service or application on the Internet. We maintain data on breaches of Internet services that we can use to search against. Because we use password hashes, scrambled versions of the original password that can’t be easily reversed, we compare a hash of the password to hashes of compromised passwords found in these lists from other attacks. An additional benefit, beside the security of hashes, is the ability to perform fast lookups, much faster than plaintext searches. This means that we can perform these checks without adding significant latency to the login process for users.

Because of the potential impact of a Cloudflare account being compromised, we opt for a more secure approach of disallowing leaked credentials regardless of whether they were associated with the specific user’s email or not. Unfortunately, data breaches are likely to continue to happen. Therefore, being proactive helps reduce the risk of new breaches that contain the email and password pair allowing for an account to be compromised before the data is available to us.

If we detect a match, the user will be prompted with the following warning. We will also send an email notification with instructions on what to do and a unique link in order to reset the password.

At this point, the user will still be able to log in to their Cloudflare account. We strongly encourage users to reset their password immediately. However, we know that in some cases you need to reach the Cloudflare dashboard immediately or do not have convenient access to the email used for the account. Cloudflare will allow two additional login attempts to succeed with the same compromised password before forcing the user to reset their password.

To reset a password in Cloudflare Dashboard, navigate to the Authentication page in My Profile. From here, select Change Password and enter both the current password to authenticate and a new, non-compromised password. Alternatively, for those whose password was leaked, upon login an email will be sent with a unique link to reset the password.

What’s next?

Forcing users to reset compromised credentials helps prevent attacks from spreading on the Internet, but it’s just a small piece of improved account security. We know that adding the next step, second factor authentication, can be cumbersome. We have committed to CISA’s Secure by Design Pledge, which includes working to increase 2FA adoption across the industry. We will share our plans on how we will be implementing the pledge by mid-2025.

Adding multifactor authentication to every one of your accounts on the Internet can still be a chore, no matter how much the experience is improved. It’s much easier if you can just do it with one account and use that account to authenticate into other services and applications – a single-sign on (SSO) flow. Right now, our SSO feature is limited to enterprise accounts, and we plan to change that. We will allow users to access Cloudflare through other providers like Google, GitHub, and more. Allowing users to reduce how many unique password and 2FA combinations they have to keep track of helps to reduce the likelihood of being impacted by future password breaches.

Breaking a Password Manager

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/06/breaking-a-password-manager.html

Interesting story of breaking the security of the RoboForm password manager in order to recover a cryptocurrency wallet password.

Grand and Bruno spent months reverse engineering the version of the RoboForm program that they thought Michael had used in 2013 and found that the pseudo-random number generator used to generate passwords in that version—­and subsequent versions until 2015­—did indeed have a significant flaw that made the random number generator not so random. The RoboForm program unwisely tied the random passwords it generated to the date and time on the user’s computer­—it determined the computer’s date and time, and then generated passwords that were predictable. If you knew the date and time and other parameters, you could compute any password that would have been generated on a certain date and time in the past.

If Michael knew the day or general time frame in 2013 when he generated it, as well as the parameters he used to generate the password (for example, the number of characters in the password, including lower- and upper-case letters, figures, and special characters), this would narrow the possible password guesses to a manageable number. Then they could hijack the RoboForm function responsible for checking the date and time on a computer and get it to travel back in time, believing the current date was a day in the 2013 time frame when Michael generated his password. RoboForm would then spit out the same passwords it generated on the days in 2013.

The UK Bans Default Passwords

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/05/the-uk-bans-default-passwords.html

The UK is the first country to ban default passwords on IoT devices.

On Monday, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to ban default guessable usernames and passwords from these IoT devices. Unique passwords installed by default are still permitted.

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 (PSTI) introduces new minimum-security standards for manufacturers, and demands that these companies are open with consumers about how long their products will receive security updates for.

The UK may be the first country, but as far as I know, California is the first jurisdiction. It banned default passwords in 2018, the law taking effect in 2020.

This sort of thing benefits all of us everywhere. IoT manufacturers aren’t making two devices, one for California and one for the rest of the US. And they’re not going to make one for the UK and another for the rest of Europe, either. They’ll remove the default passwords and sell those devices everywhere.

Another news article.

Canadian Citizen Gets Phone Back from Police

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2024/01/canadian-citizen-gets-phone-back-from-police.html

After 175 million failed password guesses, a judge rules that the Canadian police must return a suspect’s phone.

[Judge] Carter said the investigation can continue without the phones, and he noted that Ottawa police have made a formal request to obtain more data from Google.

“This strikes me as a potentially more fruitful avenue of investigation than using brute force to enter the phones,” he said.

Cisco Can’t Stop Using Hard-Coded Passwords

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/10/cisco-cant-stop-using-hard-coded-passwords.html

There’s a new Cisco vulnerability in its Emergency Responder product:

This vulnerability is due to the presence of static user credentials for the root account that are typically reserved for use during development. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by using the account to log in to an affected system. A successful exploit could allow the attacker to log in to the affected system and execute arbitrary commands as the root user.

This is not the first time Cisco products have had hard-coded passwords made public. You’d think it would learn.

Using Hacked LastPass Keys to Steal Cryptocurrency

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/09/using-hacked-lastpass-keys-to-steal-cryptocurrency.html

Remember last November, when hackers broke into the network for LastPass—a password database—and stole password vaults with both encrypted and plaintext data for over 25 million users?

Well, they’re now using that data break into crypto wallets and drain them: $35 million and counting, all going into a single wallet.

That’s a really profitable hack. (It’s also bad opsec. The hackers need to move and launder all that money quickly.)

Look, I know that online password databases are more convenient. But they’re also risky. This is why my Password Safe is local only. (I know this sounds like a commercial, but Password Safe is not a commercial product.)

Practice Your Security Prompting Skills

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/07/practice-your-security-prompting-skills.html

Gandalf is an interactive LLM game where the goal is to get the chatbot to reveal its password. There are eight levels of difficulty, as the chatbot gets increasingly restrictive instructions as to how it will answer. It’s a great teaching tool.

I am stuck on Level 7.

Feel free to give hints and discuss strategy in the comments below. I probably won’t look at them until I’ve cracked the last level.

Dumb Password Rules

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/03/dumb-password-rules.html

Examples of dumb password rules.

There are some pretty bad disasters out there.

My worst experiences are with sites that have artificial complexity requirements that cause my personal password-generation systems to fail. Some of the systems on the list are even worse: when they fail they don’t tell you why, so you just have to guess until you get it right.

Passwords Are Terrible (Surprising No One)

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2023/02/passwords-are-terrible-surprising-no-one.html

This is the result of a security audit:

More than a fifth of the passwords protecting network accounts at the US Department of the Interior—including Password1234, Password1234!, and ChangeItN0w!—were weak enough to be cracked using standard methods, a recently published security audit of the agency found.


The results weren’t encouraging. In all, the auditors cracked 18,174—or 21 percent—­of the 85,944 cryptographic hashes they tested; 288 of the affected accounts had elevated privileges, and 362 of them belonged to senior government employees. In the first 90 minutes of testing, auditors cracked the hashes for 16 percent of the department’s user accounts.

The audit uncovered another security weakness—the failure to consistently implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). The failure extended to 25—­or 89 percent—­of 28 high-value assets (HVAs), which, when breached, have the potential to severely impact agency operations.

Original story:

To make their point, the watchdog spent less than $15,000 on building a password-cracking rig—a setup of a high-performance computer or several chained together ­- with the computing power designed to take on complex mathematical tasks, like recovering hashed passwords. Within the first 90 minutes, the watchdog was able to recover nearly 14,000 employee passwords, or about 16% of all department accounts, including passwords like ‘Polar_bear65’ and ‘Nationalparks2014!’.

LastPass Breach

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/12/lastpass-breach.html

Last August, LastPass reported a security breach, saying that no customer information—or passwords—were compromised. Turns out the full story is worse:

While no customer data was accessed during the August 2022 incident, some source code and technical information were stolen from our development environment and used to target another employee, obtaining credentials and keys which were used to access and decrypt some storage volumes within the cloud-based storage service.


To date, we have determined that once the cloud storage access key and dual storage container decryption keys were obtained, the threat actor copied information from backup that contained basic customer account information and related metadata including company names, end-user names, billing addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and the IP addresses from which customers were accessing the LastPass service.

The threat actor was also able to copy a backup of customer vault data from the encrypted storage container which is stored in a proprietary binary format that contains both unencrypted data, such as website URLs, as well as fully-encrypted sensitive fields such as website usernames and passwords, secure notes, and form-filled data.

That’s bad. It’s not an epic disaster, though.

These encrypted fields remain secured with 256-bit AES encryption and can only be decrypted with a unique encryption key derived from each user’s master password using our Zero Knowledge architecture. As a reminder, the master password is never known to LastPass and is not stored or maintained by LastPass.

So, according to the company, if you chose a strong master password—here’s my advice on how to do it—your passwords are safe. That is, you are secure as long as your password is resilient to a brute-force attack. (That they lost customer data is another story….)

Fair enough, as far as it goes. My guess is that many LastPass users do not have strong master passwords, even though the compromise of your encrypted password file should be part of your threat model. But, even so, note this unverified tweet:

I think the situation at @LastPass may be worse than they are letting on. On Sunday the 18th, four of my wallets were compromised. The losses are not significant. Their seeds were kept, encrypted, in my lastpass vault, behind a 16 character password using all character types.

If that’s true, it means that LastPass has some backdoor—possibly unintentional—into the password databases that the hackers are accessing. (Or that @Cryptopathic’s “16 character password using all character types” is something like “P@ssw0rdP@ssw0rd.”)

My guess is that we’ll learn more during the coming days. But this should serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who is using the cloud: the cloud is another name for “someone else’s computer,” and you need to understand how much or how little you trust that computer.

If you’re changing password managers, look at my own Password Safe. Its main downside is that you can’t synch between devices, but that’s because I don’t use the cloud for anything.

News articles. Slashdot thread.

EDITED TO ADD: People choose lousy master passwords.

Failures in Twitter’s Two-Factor Authentication System

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/11/failures-in-twitters-two-factor-authentication-system.html

Twitter is having intermittent problems with its two-factor authentication system:

Not all users are having problems receiving SMS authentication codes, and those who rely on an authenticator app or physical authentication token to secure their Twitter account may not have reason to test the mechanism. But users have been self-reporting issues on Twitter since the weekend, and WIRED confirmed that on at least some accounts, authentication texts are hours delayed or not coming at all. The meltdown comes less than two weeks after Twitter laid off about half of its workers, roughly 3,700 people. Since then, engineers, operations specialists, IT staff, and security teams have been stretched thin attempting to adapt Twitter’s offerings and build new features per new owner Elon Musk’s agenda.

On top of that, it seems that the system has a new vulnerability:

A researcher contacted Information Security Media Group on condition of anonymity to reveal that texting “STOP” to the Twitter verification service results in the service turning off SMS two-factor authentication.

“Your phone has been removed and SMS 2FA has been disabled from all accounts,” is the automated response.

The vulnerability, which ISMG verified, allows a hacker to spoof the registered phone number to disable two-factor authentication. That potentially exposes accounts to a password reset attack or account takeover through password stuffing.

This is not a good sign.

Recovering Passwords by Measuring Residual Heat

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/10/recovering-passwords-by-measuring-residual-heat.html

Researchers have used thermal cameras and ML guessing techniques to recover passwords from measuring the residual heat left by fingers on keyboards. From the abstract:

We detail the implementation of ThermoSecure and make a dataset of 1,500 thermal images of keyboards with heat traces resulting from input publicly available. Our first study shows that ThermoSecure successfully attacks 6-symbol, 8-symbol, 12-symbol, and 16-symbol passwords with an average accuracy of 92%, 80%, 71%, and 55% respectively, and even higher accuracy when thermal images are taken within 30 seconds. We found that typing behavior significantly impacts vulnerability to thermal attacks, where hunt-and-peck typists are more vulnerable than fast typists (92% vs 83% thermal attack success if performed within 30 seconds). The second study showed that the keycaps material has a statistically significant effect on the effectiveness of thermal attacks: ABS keycaps retain the thermal trace of users presses for a longer period of time, making them more vulnerable to thermal attacks, with a 52% average attack accuracy compared to 14% for keyboards with PBT keycaps.

“ABS” is Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which some keys are made of. Others are made of Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT). PBT keys are less vulnerable.

But, honestly, if someone can train a camera at your keyboard, you have bigger problems.

News article.

Leaking Passwords through the Spellchecker

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/09/leaking-passwords-through-the-spellchecker.html

Sometimes browser spellcheckers leak passwords:

When using major web browsers like Chrome and Edge, your form data is transmitted to Google and Microsoft, respectively, should enhanced spellcheck features be enabled.

Depending on the website you visit, the form data may itself include PII­—including but not limited to Social Security Numbers (SSNs)/Social Insurance Numbers (SINs), name, address, email, date of birth (DOB), contact information, bank and payment information, and so on.

The solution is to only use the spellchecker options that keep the data on your computer—and don’t send it into the cloud.

Expanded eligibility for the free MFA security key program

Post Syndicated from CJ Moses original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/expanded-eligibility-for-the-free-mfa-security-key-program/

Since the broad launch of our multi-factor authentication (MFA) security key program, customers have been enthusiastic about the program and how they will use it to improve their organizations’ security posture. Given the level of interest, we’re expanding eligibility for the program to allow more US-based AWS account root users and payer accounts to take advantage of the offer. Previously, eligibility required that US-based root users and payer accounts spend a minimum of $100 per month over the past 3 months. Now, we are expanding eligibility to US-based root users and payer accounts who have spent a minimum of $300 over the past 3 months. If you are a US-based customer who meets the expanded eligibility requirements, we encourage you to place an order for your free security key. As a reminder, you can use the following steps to order your free key.

To order your free security key

  1. Confirm your eligibility at the ordering portal. You will be prompted to sign in if you haven’t already. Sign in with your AWS account root user or payer account credentials.
  2. Choose your free security key from the available options.
  3. Provide your email address for order confirmation and your shipping address.
  4. Place your order.

MFA as a core security best practice is one of the key messages emphasized at the recent AWS re:Inforce conference. Using MFA is one of the simplest ways for anyone, personally or professionally, to help improve their security online. For example, if credentials become compromised on GitHub, users have an extra layer of protection if MFA is enabled. Or, if your login details are compromised for your bank account, MFA acts a second factor to protect your account.

If you’re not eligible for a free security key at this time, but would still like a security key, check out our MFA recommendations. These are available for purchase from many sellers, including Amazon. For more information about the MFA program, see our Free MFA Security Key page.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. If you have questions about this post, contact AWS Support.

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CJ Moses

CJ Moses

CJ is the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at AWS, where he leads product design and security engineering. His mission is to deliver the economic and security benefits of cloud computing to business and government customers. Previously, CJ led the technical analysis of computer and network intrusion efforts at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Division. He also served as a Special Agent with the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). CJ led several computer intrusion investigations seen as foundational to the information security industry today.

When Security Locks You Out of Everything

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/06/__trashed-2.html

Thought experiment story of someone who lost everything in a house fire, and now can’t log into anything:

But to get into my cloud, I need my password and 2FA. And even if I could convince the cloud provider to bypass that and let me in, the backup is secured with a password which is stored in—you guessed it—my Password Manager.

I am in cyclic dependency hell. To get my passwords, I need my 2FA. To get my 2FA, I need my passwords.

It’s a one-in-a-million story, and one that’s hard to take into account in system design.

This is where we reach the limits of the “Code Is Law” movement.

In the boring analogue world—I am pretty sure that I’d be able to convince a human that I am who I say I am. And, thus, get access to my accounts. I may have to go to court to force a company to give me access back, but it is possible.

But when things are secured by an unassailable algorithm—I am out of luck. No amount of pleading will let me without the correct credentials. The company which provides my password manager simply doesn’t have access to my passwords. There is no-one to convince. Code is law.

Of course, if I can wangle my way past security, an evil-doer could also do so.

So which is the bigger risk?

  • An impersonator who convinces a service provider that they are me?
  • A malicious insider who works for a service provider?
  • Me permanently losing access to all of my identifiers?

I don’t know the answer to that.

Those risks are in the order of most common to least common, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in risk order. They probably are, but then we’re left with no good way to handle someone who has lost all their digital credentials—computer, phone, backup, hardware token, wallet with ID cards—in a catastrophic house fire.

I want to remind readers that this isn’t a true story. It didn’t actually happen. It’s a thought experiment.

Bypassing Two-Factor Authentication

Post Syndicated from Bruce Schneier original https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2022/04/bypassing-two-factor-authentication.html

These techniques are not new, but they’re increasingly popular:

…some forms of MFA are stronger than others, and recent events show that these weaker forms aren’t much of a hurdle for some hackers to clear. In the past few months, suspected script kiddies like the Lapsus$ data extortion gang and elite Russian-state threat actors (like Cozy Bear, the group behind the SolarWinds hack) have both successfully defeated the protection.


Methods include:

  • Sending a bunch of MFA requests and hoping the target finally accepts one to make the noise stop.
  • Sending one or two prompts per day. This method often attracts less attention, but “there is still a good chance the target will accept the MFA request.”
  • Calling the target, pretending to be part of the company, and telling the target they need to send an MFA request as part of a company process.

FIDO2 multi-factor authentication systems are not susceptible to these attacks, because they are tied to a physical computer.

And even though there are attacks against these two-factor systems, they’re much more secure than not having them at all. If nothing else, they block pretty much all automated attacks.