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Re: Whitespace in passwords - From Security focus
From: <Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 06:30:32 +0100

But the traditional cracking tools don't know anything about alt code but they do know traditional key presses
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Wright <cwright () bdosyd com au>
To: Craig Wright <cwright () bdosyd com au>; Cummings, Steve: IT (LDN) <Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com>; 
BMcAninch () PENSON COM <BMcAninch () PENSON COM>; pen-test () securityfocus com <pen-test () securityfocus com>
CC: pand0ra.usa () gmail com <pand0ra.usa () gmail com>
Sent: Thu Sep 22 05:36:07 2005
Subject: RE: Whitespace in passwords - From Security focus

Myth #10: Use ALT+255 for the Strongest Possible Password 

It common to see recommendations to use high-ASCII characters as the ultimate password tip. High-ASCII characters are 
those that cannot normally be typed on a keyboard but are entered by holding down the ALT key and typing the 
character's ASCII value on the numeric keypad. For example, the sequence ALT-0255 creates the character <ÿ>. 

Although they are useful in some situations, you should also consider the disadvantages. First of all, holding down the 
ALT key and typing on the numeric keypad is something that can easily be observed by others. Second, creating such a 
character requires five keystrokes that must be memorized and later typed every time the password is entered. Perhaps a 
more effective technique would be to make your password five characters longer, which would actually make your password 
much stronger for the same number of keystrokes. 

For example, a five-character password made up of high-ASCII characters will require 25 keystrokes to complete. With 
255 possible codes for each character and five characters, the total possible combinations are 255^5 (or 
1,078,203,909,375). However, a 25-character password made up of only lower-case letters has 26^25 (or 
236,773,830,007,968,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) possible combinations. Clearly, you are better off just making longer 
passwords. 

Another thing to consider is that some laptop keyboards make numeric keypad input difficult and some command-line tools 
may not accept high-ASCII characters. For example, you can use the character ALT+0127 in Windows, but you cannot type 
that character at a command prompt. Conversely, I have found that some character codes such Tabs (ALT+0009), LineFeeds 
(ALT+0010), and ESC (ALT+0027) can be used when setting your password from a command prompt but cannot be used in any 
Windows dialog boxes (which may actually be a desirable side-effect in some rare cases). 

Craig
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Wright 
Sent: 22 September 2005 8:45
To: 'Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com'; BMcAninch () PENSON COM; pen-test () securityfocus com
Cc: pand0ra.usa () gmail com
Subject: RE: Whitespace in passwords

If you are this worried and the users are capable enough - than use OTP's or certificates or something

RSA keyfobs or SKEY beat passwords hands down

Craig 

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com [mailto:Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com]
Sent: 21 September 2005 5:27
To: Craig Wright; BMcAninch () PENSON COM; pen-test () securityfocus com
Cc: pand0ra.usa () gmail com
Subject: RE: Whitespace in passwords

I never said that I didn't agree with you but the alt system in my book is a more useful way of protecting passwords 
than 14 character password etc 


Regards

Steve Cummings
Barclays Capital
DDI 0207 773 4245

-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Wright [mailto:cwright () bdosyd com au]
Sent: 21 September 2005 07:32
To: Cummings, Steve: IT (LDN); BMcAninch () PENSON COM; pen-test () securityfocus com
Cc: pand0ra.usa () gmail com
Subject: RE: Whitespace in passwords

John was a tool which was good a decade ago

The tools have moved on - just because not everyone here has used precomputed tables and quadratic methods does not 
mean that an attacker does not know of them. I am sure that Barclays Capital has enough of a presence to attract the 
corporate criminal type...

I reiterate - the real issue is to stop an attacker getting this info in the first place.

Secure Server plus secure client settings in group policy on a MSFT network and this is no longer an issue. "An Ounce 
of Prevention is worth a pound of cure"...

Craig 

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com [mailto:Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com]
Sent: 21 September 2005 3:37
To: Craig Wright; BMcAninch () PENSON COM; pen-test () securityfocus com
Cc: pand0ra.usa () gmail com
Subject: Re: Whitespace in passwords

Try the password of your choice with alt 255 in the middle currently things like lopht and john don't get near it
 

-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Wright <cwright () bdosyd com au>
To: Cummings, Steve: IT (LDN) <Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com>; BMcAninch () PENSON COM <BMcAninch () PENSON 
COM>; pen-test () securityfocus com <pen-test () securityfocus com>
CC: pand0ra.usa () gmail com <pand0ra.usa () gmail com>
Sent: Tue Sep 20 20:27:52 2005
Subject: RE: Whitespace in passwords

HI
 
1st it does not make them untouchable
 
Next, MOST applications do not accept Alt+xxx based passwords - very few users will use them as well
 
Do your users authenticate via a Radius systems, the web...? Any of these will not accept Alt+xxx chars.
 
Most users will have issues using this
 
the following does not make a very memerable password - see how often it is remembered?
¦ß?|?O11s
 
Craig

        -----Original Message----- 
        From: Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com [mailto:Steve.Cummings () barclayscapital com] 
        Sent: Wed 21/09/2005 2:41 AM 
        To: Craig Wright; BMcAninch () PENSON COM; pen-test () securityfocus com 
        Cc: pand0ra.usa () gmail com 
        Subject: Re: Whitespace in passwords
        
        
        Why aren't alt characters feasible alt255 is an easy one for anyone to remember and if the policy for passwords 
dictates the requirement then most large firms would accept this especially if it made the password in the current view 
untouchable for the for seable future
        
        




------------------------------------------------------------------------
For more information about Barclays Capital, please visit our web site at http://www.barcap.com.


Internet communications are not secure and therefore the Barclays Group does not accept legal responsibility for the 
contents of this message.  Although the Barclays Group operates anti-virus programmes, it does not accept 
responsibility for any damage whatsoever that is caused by viruses being passed.  Any views or opinions presented are 
solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Barclays Group.  Replies to this email may be 
monitored by the Barclays Group for operational or business reasons.

------------------------------------------------------------------------




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