About Us | Contact Us
View Cart

Former NIST Official Regrets Issuing Password Guidance

By Vigilize | Monday, August 21, 2017 - Leave a Comment

Bill Burr admits security advice actually created more vulnerable passwords.


An article review.


ServIcons_ITAudit_01If you’ve ever angrily questioned some seemingly arbitrary rule when creating a new password, there is some vindication for you: the former government official whose password security suggestions became the basis for many organization’s own standards now says he regrets writing the document.

These regrets came to light in a recent article, which came to us by way of Wes Pollard at Home Bank. In the article, former NIST Manager Bill Burr admitted his 2003 NIST Special Publication led to users taking “lazy shortcuts” and using predictable methods when creating passwords, making them easier to crack.

Burr also now disagrees with his recommendation to have passwords expire after 90 days–something that we have spoken about here on multiple occasions!

Now, instead of dancing on the grave of the aging myth that was included in the original NIST Special Publication 800-63, let’s address the still confusing issue of password make-up.  Bill Burr also regrets that fact that many people are now using “predictable phonetics” to make their passwords strong.  Many of you who have received training from infotex may think that we too regret our advice, which USED to mirror the strong password makeup suggestions of the NIST publication.

While we do admit that we too suggested using @ for a and $ for s, that was more than a decade ago.  We long ago changed our approach, suggesting that you use sentences longer than 14 characters in length, use disparate words I your sentences, mix up your themes, etc.  We still teach the six factor makeup, and still believe in it, whenever you can’t use long sentences of disparate words.  And we’d rather users adopt the practices pushed in the NIST guidance than no practice at all.

So yes, 11 years ago we agreed with NIST guidance, but since we have been trying to get the world to see that the best password is a sentence of disparate words.  For example:  Original USED admit decade could be a password, all based on words used in this paragraph.  The infotex policy is still to throw a password that is “strong” as defined in the original NIST guidance.  Thus, in order for the above password to comply with infotex policy, we’d need to add an eight character “strong” password in there somewhere, like Original USED admit decade $tr0ng3r!  (Yes, we’re using a $ for an s, a zero for the oh, and a 3 for the e.  But we still maintain the likelihood of you guessing that, even if you KNEW it was a phonetic of “stronger,” is very, very low.

 


Original article by Nick Statt, writing for The Verge.


same_strip_012513


 

Latest News
    You’ve heard it from every MSSP you’ve met: the definition of a SIEM is in the eye of the beholder. But at infotex, we are not talking about the database – an asset whose definition is continuously evolving. We’re talking about the way three teams collaborate in an overall Technology Risk Monitoring process. And whether […]
    A new study shows organizations are responding to cyber attacks faster than ever, so why is that bad news? An article review. When it comes to cyber attacks, the sooner an organization can begin to respond to an attack the better, so the results of a new study showing a drop in the amount of […]
    …a Crash Course of Security Measures The first article by Sara Fultz, Creative Assistant of infotex! Introduction: As the managing partner of infotex, I am proud to introduce the “debut article” for Sara Fultz.  I told Sara “write an article showing us what you’ve learned that the technical staff will appreciate.” As I read her […]
    infotex Programming Coordinator, Michael Hartke, introduces a high level overview of the upcoming update to the infotex SIEM. Look for more movies in the coming months informing our Clients, and those just now learning about us, about the SIEM and its features and functions.
    Another awareness poster for YOUR customers (and users).  Now that we have our own employees aware, maybe it’s time to start posting content for our customers! Download the large versions here: Awareness Poster (Portrait) Awareness Poster (Landscape)   You are welcome to print out and distribute this around your office.  
    As the investigation of the SolarWinds Hack was ongoing, another hack stole some of the limelight… This is the final update on the SolarWinds hack unless a major development comes to light. You can see the previous article here: “Autopsy of the SolarWinds Hack Update“. One of the largest cyber-espionage campaigns in the history of […]
    Employees working from home may find it more difficult to follow security policies… An article review. The surge in employees working from home during the pandemic created many headaches for IT departments around the world, many of whom had no telecommuting policies or procedures before the start… but what about the employees who had to […]
    A Webinar-Movie infotex presents the 2021 update of a previously released webinar presented by our Lead Non-Technical Auditor, Adam Reynolds. This movie-short is intended for those who are planning to participate in an infotex Incident Response Test. Not sure about the importance of an Incident Response Test? Check out onetest.infotex.com for more information! Please let […]
    PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BUSINESS NEWS INFOTEX PROMOTES BRYAN BONNELL TO DIGITAL MEDIA MANAGER infotex, the Managed Security Service Provider, announced Bryan Bonnell’s promotion from Senior Data Security Analyst to Digital Media Manager.  “He will continue his normal DSA duties on a limited basis, because we want everybody to stay in touch with […]
    PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BUSINESS NEWS RYAN HENSLER OF INFOTEX, EARNS CISSP CERTIFICATE Ryan Hensler, Senior NOC Associate of infotex, Inc., recently received the CISSP certification. “Ryan has proven himself to be a seasoned security professional both in his work for infotex and now through achieving this certification.” said Sean Waugh, Information Security Officer. […]