LinuxSecurity.com
Share your story
The central voice for Linux and Open Source security news
Home News Topics Advisories HOWTOs Features Newsletters About Register

Welcome!
Sign up!
EnGarde Community
Login
Polls
What is the most important Linux security technology?
 
Advisories
Community
Linux Events
Linux User Groups
Link to Us
Security Center
Book Reviews
Security Dictionary
Security Tips
SELinux
White Papers
Featured Blogs
All About Linux
DanWalsh LiveJournal
Securitydistro
Latest Newsletters
Linux Advisory Watch: October 31st, 2014
Linux Security Week: October 27th, 2014
Subscribe
LinuxSecurity Newsletters
E-mail:
Choose Lists:
About our Newsletters
RSS Feeds
Get the LinuxSecurity news you want faster with RSS
Powered By

  
Special Topics

Chapter 11. Special Topics

 

Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.

 Proverbs 16:22 (NIV)

11.1. Passwords

Where possible, don't write code to handle passwords. In particular, if the application is local, try to depend on the normal login authentication by a user. If the application is a CGI script, try to depend on the web server to provide the protection as much as possible - but see below about handling authentication in a web server. If the application is over a network, avoid sending the password as cleartext (where possible) since it can be easily captured by network sniffers and reused later. ``Encrypting'' a password using some key fixed in the algorithm or using some sort of shrouding algorithm is essentially the same as sending the password as cleartext.

For networks, consider at least using digest passwords. Digest passwords are passwords developed from hashes; typically the server will send the client some data (e.g., date, time, name of server), the client combines this data with the user password, the client hashes this value (termed the ``digest pasword'') and replies just the hashed result to the server; the server verifies this hash value. This works, because the password is never actually sent in any form; the password is just used to derive the hash value. Digest passwords aren't considered ``encryption'' in the usual sense and are usually accepted even in countries with laws constraining encryption for confidentiality. Digest passwords are vulnerable to active attack threats but protect against passive network sniffers. One weakness is that, for digest passwords to work, the server must have all the unhashed passwords, making the server a very tempting target for attack.

If your application permits users to set their passwords, check the passwords and permit only ``good'' passwords (e.g., not in a dictionary, having certain minimal length, etc.). You may want to look at information such as http://consult.cern.ch/writeup/security/security_3.html on how to choose a good password. You should use PAM if you can, because it supports pluggable password checkers.

    
Partner

 

Latest Features
Peter Smith Releases Linux Network Security Online
Securing a Linux Web Server
Password guessing with Medusa 2.0
Password guessing as an attack vector
Squid and Digest Authentication
Squid and Basic Authentication
Demystifying the Chinese Hacking Industry: Earning 6 Million a Night
Free Online security course (LearnSIA) - A Call for Help
What You Need to Know About Linux Rootkits
Review: A Practical Guide to Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux - Fifth Edition
Yesterday's Edition
Preventing Linux rootkit threats through secure boot design
What you need to know about the Drupal vulnerability CVE-2014-3704
Partner Sponsor

Community | HOWTOs | Blogs | Features | Book Reviews | Networking
 Security Projects |  Latest News |  Newsletters |  SELinux |  Privacy |  Home
 Hardening |   About Us |   Advertise |   Legal Notice |   RSS |   Guardian Digital
(c)Copyright 2014 Guardian Digital, Inc. All rights reserved.