Bypassing The Password, Part 1: Windows 10 Scaremongering - InformationWeek

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Bypassing The Password, Part 1: Windows 10 Scaremongering
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macker490
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macker490,
User Rank: Strategist
4/20/2015 | 9:20:08 AM
Hacking happens AFTER you log on
Hacking happens after you log on: you get nailed by a drive-by shoot from some site that is suffering from "malvertising".  Or you click on an eMail you think you need but which is actually a clever forgery,-- called "targeted phishing"

once you are "pwned" you no longer know what your computer is doing

there are two thngs needed IMMEDIATELY in the area of Computer Security

(1) Use an operating system which will not allow itself to be compromised by an erratic application program,-- whether by error or by intent.

(2) AUTHENTICATE all transmittals, particularly software updates but also financial records such as forms 1040, online banking and the like, and also eMail

you need both of these fixes

running with the current popular software is much akin to driving down the Dan Ryan Expressway on your inner-tubes
jamieinmontreal
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jamieinmontreal,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/20/2015 | 10:38:44 AM
Password or Password Management issue
Joe, an informative and entertaining read thank you!   I agree completely that the issues we face with password security are nothing at all to do with passwords in and of themselves and everything to do with their management.   

I can't lay the blame on users choosing bad passwords or falling for Phishing attacks despite the undoubtable logic of that conclusion.   Humanity isn't a hard coded, logic based setup by any means - automation and policy implementation are valuable precisely because of this.

Better management tools, better policies and removing mundabe but somehow stressful decisions from the day to day of those users on all systems is simply a necessity and - as you rightly point out - there are several authentication methods available to support increased security.   What systems have you seen deployed that make the most sense?

I'm looking forward to the next in the series
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
4/20/2015 | 11:39:30 AM
Re: Password or Password Management issue
"Many password reset methods can be problematic -- especially when those in charge of the resets fail to follow proper procedure and policy". Absolutely.  I have bad experience where I had to ask the IT team to rest my password since I have not followed the proper procedures.

 
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
4/20/2015 | 11:46:20 AM
Passphrase
If we use the above mechanism when generating our password will it prevent us from hackers?  This is complex but still can remember easily.
jamieinmontreal
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jamieinmontreal,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/21/2015 | 1:26:37 PM
Re: Passphrase
@Shamika - think how a hacker gets in... either they steal a password through it's careless reveal (post-it note on workstation, list of "secret passwords" on a stolen phone, brute force a weak password, phish / social engineer it from a user, keystroke logging, session monitoring...

Passphrase is certainly better than most passwords, but it shares some of the inherent weaknesses.

Multi-factor authentiation is a little better still.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
4/20/2015 | 4:22:59 PM
hope
After reading the Adobe paragraph, I was losing my hope to ever be secure of hackers. Luckily the author mentions the multifactor authentication and common sense. I think that's the best way to go.

Maybe Cortana can ask us a few questions as well. Just to be sure.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
4/20/2015 | 8:18:56 PM
Re: hope
All of the security breaches have one thing in common: human error.  For instance, in the case of Target, it was a third-party vendor who had access to Target's servers and the attack was orchestrated using that vendor's credentials because SOMEONE didn't do their due dilligence with regard to the vendor and the security measures THEY employ. 

If you're going to let someone in your house, you best do the legwork on what goes on in THEIR house first.  IMO.
jamieinmontreal
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jamieinmontreal,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/21/2015 | 1:19:57 PM
Re: hope
Good points and woth noting that there's a difference between the passwords for one user on many systems (you and I logging in to our day to day workstations, applications etc) and the admin passwords where one system is being accessed by multiple users.

Ther are tools to cope with both and in the case of Target, the credentials with privileged access could have been managed so that the hacker wouldn't have been able to get in using the same password after their initial attempt. Given that the hacker was in there for months to get the info they wanted, it's reasonable to assume this could have been prevented.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
4/21/2015 | 2:34:22 PM
Re: hope
@jamieinmontreal - Exactly!  Completely preventable and one of those things that falls through the cracks probably all of time.  Most times it doesn't matter - no one would ever notice.  This time it didn't matter - and WOW - what a costly mistake!
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
4/22/2015 | 7:35:27 AM
Passwords have one huge advantage
You can change a password quickly and easily...try that with finger, face, or iris.
HAnatomi
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HAnatomi,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/23/2015 | 3:12:43 AM
fallback password
Threats that can be thwarted by biometric products operated together with fallback/backup passwords can be thwarted more securely by passwords alone.  We could be certain that biometrics would help for better security only when it is operated together with another factor by AND/Conjunction (we need to go through both of the two), not when operated with another factor by OR/Disjunction (we need only to go through either one of the two) as in the cases of Touch ID and many other biometric products on the market that require a backup/fallback password, which only increase the convenience by bringing down the security.

 

 
chrisrut
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chrisrut,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/27/2015 | 6:50:37 PM
Stick to your law practice...
After 40 years in the industry (my boss in the 80s was the author of the "Orange Book" - look it up) I believe this among the most poorly conceived and researched articles on the subject I've ever read. Dangerously so.

It is important to understand that passwords provide an unbounded and easily compromised attack interface. Any user, including you or I, can be manipulated by social engineering into giving away the keys to the castle. Biometrics offer an alternative to passwords that make it harder for an attacker to compromise the question of identity.

Is Microsoft's Windows 10 technology ready for prime time? I won't know until it has been throughly evaluated. But I do know that passwords have overstayed their welcome and I believe Microsoft should be appluaded for their efforts rather than chastised.

Having said that, I agree with other commenters who stress the need to make systems more secure in and of themselves: indeed, as it stands a careless click on a malicious link can defeat even the best authentication scheme. But that's no excuse for perpetuating a horrendously flawed system based on passwords.


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