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Old 08-12-2010, 04:30 AM
Bill Longman
 
Default Rooted/compromised Gentoo, seeking advice - AKA passwords

On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 4:09 PM, Alan McKinnon <alan.mckinnon@gmail.com> wrote:

On Thursday 12 August 2010 00:11:12 Bill Longman wrote:

> On 08/11/2010 01:30 PM, Alan McKinnon wrote:

> > I refuse to implement password expiration policies and have a vast array

> > of literature to back me up when some dimwit damager gets on his

> > expiration high horse.

> >

> > My users pick their own passwords - I present a list of 5 from apg and

> > let them pick one. Accounts do expire if they go unused for 90 days, but

> > not passwords.

> >

> > What put me onto this policy? I found Gartner recommending password

> > expiration. I find the best security possible is always the opposite of

> > what Gartner says. Discovering how the AD admins in the company go about

> > their jobs was the convincing straw :-)

>

> The bigger buggerboo I see is the "password complexity" [il]logic.

> There's this vapid requirement of all these different types of

> characters needed in one's password, yet the thing you really want to

> enforce is adequate entropy. If my password is an entire sentence, it

> will not be brute-forced, even if I used just ASCII A-z. There's just

> too much key space in 4.7^32. At 10^5 attempts per second, you're likely

> to find the answer in half a billion years. I hope your keyboard still

> works, let alone exists....



Your reasoning makes sense, until you consider password length limits imposed

by machines.



Cisco routers authenticating via Tacacs for instance often support nothing

more than DES hashing <yuck>. The hash routines accept up to 10 characters for

a password but only use the first 8 to calculate the hash.



There are Solaris version nowhere near EOL yet that have similar limits.



All this makes my life as a system integrator cum authenticate go-to guy very

tricky indeed. Luckily management tends to say "Just do what Alan says. It

makes him shut up and go away".



:-)



p.s. dig the use of "vapid". Wonderful word, truly splendid. Communicates in 5

letters something that takes paragraphs any other way. I shall make a note for

future use.



--

alan dot mckinnon at gmail dot com



Absolutely. If you do not change your ENCRYPT_METHOD or your PASS_MAX_LEN in your login.defs file and are still relying on the back end's ability to safely store your passwords in DES format, well, you're in trouble.
 

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