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
    The Four Basic Truths of System Security Webinar-Video The last thirty years have seen an evolution of frameworks, laws, and assessment approaches to information security which can intimidate the management team with their complexity. This webinar will discuss the four basic truths of system security regardless of frameworks or approach, and eight control systems to […]
    Community Banking and their layers of security. . . Michael Hartke’s first post as Executive Vice President! Thinking back to my first talk to security professionals in community banking almost 10 years ago, the question continues to this day. First some background… infotex was moderating the Indiana Bankers Association Security Conference when one of the […]
    Reasons why we should be considered! infotex provides a number of services that can be checked out if you click over to offerings.infotex.com! We even made a movie with all the reasons why infotex should be your next MSOC!  
    infotex and GoTo To all infotex managed security service Clients: As recently reported by major news outlets there was a data breach affecting GoTo (formerly LogMeIn) wherein attackers stole encrypted backups containing customer information in November 2022.  Based on the advisory from GoTo the products they offer that are affected include LogMeIn Pro, LogMeIn Central, […]
    An option for increasing security for ALL organizations. . . The threat landscape is evolving daily, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for even large organizations providing cyber defense services to keep up. As Brandao (2021) notes, it is important for organizations to adapt holistic technologies that can correlate all attack events. Therefore, developing XDR […]
    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! Check out posters.infotex.com for the whole collection! Download the large versions here: Awareness Poster (Portrait) Awareness Poster (Landscape) You are welcome to print out and distribute this around your […]
    A relic of the internet’s less secure past, many small firms struggle to secure their email systems… An article review. With a great deal of cybersecurity related news focused on new threats and similarly new techniques aimed at combating them, it can be easy to forget some of the older threats that have never gone […]
    Seven Trends . . . …that small bank Information Security Officers face in 2023 Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . . Welcome to the Magnificent Seven, my annual predictive article about the seven trends in technology that will impact the Information Security Officers of […]
    System Security and Cybersecurity are not the same thing. . . Another one of those Dan’s New Leaf Posts, meant to inspire thought about IT Governance . . . . Regarding “information security,” the last thirty years have seen an evolution of frameworks, laws, and assessment approaches which intimidate the management team with their complexity.  […]
    The cryptographic algorithm is vulnerable to attack and is no longer considered secure… An article review. NIST has announced that it plans to retire the SHA-1 cryptographic algorithm by the end of 2030, citing multiple vulnerabilities in the standard, effectively ending its use after nearly 30 years.  Introduced in 1995, SHA-1 used a 160-bit hash […]