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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: password security

Reduce End-User Password Change Frustrations

Reduce End-User Password Change Frustrations

July 22, 2021The Hacker News
Organizations today must give attention to their cybersecurity posture, including policies, procedures, and technical solutions for cybersecurity challenges.  This often results in a greater burden on the IT service desk staff as end-users encounter issues related to security software, policies, and password restrictions.  One of the most common areas where security may cause challenges for end-users is password policies and password changes. What are these issues? How can organizations reduce end-user password change frustration? First, let's consider the standard password policy, its role, and general settings affecting end-users. What are password policies? Most organizations today have a password policy in place. So, what is a password policy? Password policies define the types and content of passwords allowed or required of end-users in an identity and access management system. Various aspects of the password that businesses control may include the password's required
Malicious NPM Package Caught Stealing Users' Saved Passwords From Browsers

Malicious NPM Package Caught Stealing Users' Saved Passwords From Browsers

July 21, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
A software package available from the official NPM repository has been revealed to be actually a front for a tool that's designed to steal saved passwords from the Chrome web browser. The package in question, named " nodejs_net_server " and downloaded over 1,283 times since February 2019, was last updated seven months ago (version 1.1.2), with its corresponding repository leading to non-existent locations hosted on GitHub.  "It isn't malicious by itself, but it can be when put into the malicious use context," ReversingLabs researcher Karlo Zanki  said  in an analysis shared with The Hacker News. "For instance, this package uses it to perform malicious password stealing and credential exfiltration. Even though this off-the-shelf password recovery tool comes with a graphical user interface, malware authors like to use it as it can also be run from the command line." While the first version of the package was put out just to test the process of p
Five Critical Password Security Rules Your Employees Are Ignoring

Five Critical Password Security Rules Your Employees Are Ignoring

July 19, 2021The Hacker News
According to Keeper Security's Workplace Password Malpractice Report, many remote workers aren't following best practices for password security. Password security was a problem even before the advent of widespread remote work. So, what happened post-pandemic?  Keeper Security's Workplace Password Malpractice Report  sought to find out. In February 2021, Keeper surveyed 1,000 employees in the U.S. about their work-related password habits -- and discovered that a lot of remote workers are letting password security go by the wayside. Here are 5 critical password security rules they're ignoring. 1 — Always use strong passwords Strong passwords are at least eight characters long (preferably more) and consist of random strings of letters, numerals, and special characters. Passwords should never include dictionary words, which are easy to guess, or personal details, which cybercriminals can scrape off social media channels. 37% of respondents to Keeper's survey sai
Crafting a Custom Dictionary for Your Password Policy

Crafting a Custom Dictionary for Your Password Policy

July 12, 2021The Hacker News
Modern password policies are comprised of many different elements that contribute to its effectiveness. One of the components of an effective current password policy makes use of what is known as a  custom dictionary  that filters out certain words that are not allowed as passwords in the environment.  Using custom dictionaries, organizations can significantly improve their cybersecurity posture and filter out obvious passwords that provide poor security for user accounts. When using password dictionaries in your password policy, there are many different approaches to consider. First, let's consider crafting a custom dictionary for your password policy, including general guidance on how these are created, configured, and how you can easily use custom dictionaries in an active directory environment. Why customize your dictionary?  Custom dictionaries are born from the need to "think as a hacker thinks." Compromised credentials are one of the leading causes of maliciou
Using Breached Password Detection Services to Prevent Cyberattack

Using Breached Password Detection Services to Prevent Cyberattack

June 10, 2021The Hacker News
Bolstering password policies in your organization is an important part of a robust cybersecurity strategy. Cybercriminals are using compromised accounts as one of their favorite tactics to infiltrate business-critical environments; as we've seen in recent news, these attacks can be dangerous and financially impactful. Unfortunately, account compromise is a very successful attack method and requires much less effort than other attack vectors. One of the essential types of password protection recommended by noted cybersecurity standards is  breached password detection . Hackers often use known breached password lists in credential stuffing or password spraying attacks. Here are some critical criteria to consider when your sysadmins are evaluating breached password protection solutions.  Breached password recommendations In the last few years, password security recommendations have evolved past the traditional recommendations regarding password security.  Businesses have used M
A Simple 1-Click Compromised Password Reset Feature Coming to Chrome Browser

A Simple 1-Click Compromised Password Reset Feature Coming to Chrome Browser

May 19, 2021Ravie Lakshmanan
Google on Tuesday  announced  a new feature to its password manager that could be used to change a stolen password automatically with a single tap. Automated password changes build on the tool's ability to  check the safety  of saved passwords. Thus when Chrome finds a password that may have been compromised as part of a data breach, it will prompt users with an alert containing a "Change Password" button, tapping which "Chrome will not only navigate to the site, but also go through the entire process of changing your password." Enabling this in the background is Google's  Duplex  technology, which it debuted in 2018 and expanded in 2019 to support various functions in Google Assistant like booking a rental car, ordering food, and buying movie tickets. The search giant, however, noted that users could take over control at any point during the process and change the password manually. The feature is currently being rolled out in Chrome for Android to al
Why Password Hygiene Needs a Reboot

Why Password Hygiene Needs a Reboot

May 17, 2021The Hacker News
In today's digital world, password security is more important than ever. While biometrics, one-time passwords (OTP), and other emerging forms of authentication are often touted as replacements to the traditional password, today, this concept is more marketing hype than anything else. But just because  passwords aren't going anywhere anytime soon  doesn't mean that organizations don't need to modernize their approach to password hygiene right now.  The Compromised Credential Crisis As Microsoft's  security team put it , "All it takes is one compromised credential…to cause a data breach." Coupled with the rampant problem of password reuse, compromised passwords can have a significant and long-lasting impact on enterprise security. In fact, researchers from Virginia Tech University found that over 70% of users employed a compromised password for other accounts up to a year after it was initially leaked, with 40% reusing passwords that were leaked over three years ago. Wh
Is it still a good idea to require users to change their passwords?

Is it still a good idea to require users to change their passwords?

May 10, 2021The Hacker News
For as long as corporate IT has been in existence, users have been required to change their passwords periodically. In fact, the need for scheduled password changes may be one of the most long-standing of all IT best practices. Recently, however, things have started to change. Microsoft has reversed course on the best practices that it has had in place for decades and  no longer recommends that organizations require users to change passwords periodically . Organizations are being forced to consider, perhaps for the first time, whether or not requiring periodic password changes is a good idea. Microsoft password reset recommendations According to Microsoft, requiring users to change their passwords frequently does more harm than good.  Humans are notoriously resistant to change. When a user is forced to change their password, they will often come up with a new password that is based on their previous password. A user might, for example, append a number to the end of their password
How Should the Service Desk Reset Passwords?

How Should the Service Desk Reset Passwords?

May 04, 2021The Hacker News
Ask the average helpdesk technician what they do all day, and they will probably answer by saying that they reset passwords. Sure, helpdesk technicians do plenty of other things too, but in many organizations, a disproportionate number of helpdesk calls are tied to password resets. On the surface, having a  helpdesk technician reset a user's password  probably doesn't seem like a big deal. After all, the technician simply opens Active Directory Users and Computers, right-clicks on the user account, and chooses the Reset Password command from the shortcut menu. Resetting a password in this way is an easy process. Organizations can even opt to use an alternative tool such as the Windows Admin Center or even PowerShell if they prefer. One thing that most people probably don't stop and think about, however, is that even though the steps involved in the password reset process are simple enough, the  process as a whole constitutes a major security risk . Security and the service desk Th
Cost of Account Unlocks, and Password Resets Add Up

Cost of Account Unlocks, and Password Resets Add Up

April 22, 2021The Hacker News
There are many labor-intensive tasks that the IT service desk carries out on a daily basis. None as tedious and costly as resetting passwords. Modern IT service desks spend a significant amount of time both unlocking and resetting passwords for end-users. This issue has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Causes of account lockouts and password resets End-user password policies, such as those found in Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services (ADDS), typically define a  password age . The password age is the length of time an end-user can keep their current password. While  new guidance from NIST  recommends against the long-held notion of forced password changes, it is still a common and required security mechanism across other compliance standards and industry certifications such as PCI and HITRUST. When the password age is reached for the user account, the user must change their account password. It is generally prompted at the next login on their workstation. This sce
Passwordless: More Mirage Than Reality

Passwordless: More Mirage Than Reality

April 19, 2021The Hacker News
The concept of "passwordless" authentication has been gaining significant industry and media attention. And for a good reason. Our digital lives are demanding an ever-increasing number of online accounts and services, with security best practices dictating that each requires a strong, unique password in order to ensure data stays safe. Who wouldn't want an easier way? That's the premise behind one-time passwords (OTP), biometrics, pin codes, and other authentication methods presented as passwordless security. Rather than remembering cumbersome passwords, users can authenticate themselves using something they own, know, or are. Some examples include a smartphone, OTP, hardware token, or biometric marker like a fingerprint. While this sounds appealing on the surface, the problem is that, when you dig deeper, these passwordless solutions are still reliant on passwords. This happens in two primary ways: Passwordless Solutions Rely on Passwords as a Fallback If you ha
NIST and HIPAA: Is There a Password Connection?

NIST and HIPAA: Is There a Password Connection?

April 08, 2021The Hacker News
When dealing with user data, it's essential that we design our password policies around compliance. These policies are defined both internally and externally. While companies uphold their own password standards, outside forces like HIPAA and NIST have a heavy influence. Impacts are defined by industry and one's unique infrastructure. How do IT departments maintain compliance with NIST and HIPAA? We'll discuss each compliance measure and its importance in this article. What is NIST compliance? Defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST compliance aims to harden federal systems against cyber-attacks. While the agency is non-regulatory, it  is  part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has plenty of influence over government agencies and their contractors. For example, NIST guidelines help agencies  satisfy the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act  (FISMA). NIST is instrumental in creating Federal Information Proce
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