NIST Recommends New Password Rules

NISTThe National Institute for Standards and Technology is working on new password guidelines which will be mandated for government sector users, and strongly recommended for businesses as well.  Still in draft from, the standards can be found on the document Special Publication 800-63-3: Digital Authentication Guidelines.   Here are some of the recommended changes, so far.  We approve, and in many cases have been ...

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What Is Your Data Worth?

penetration_test_436x270When you lose your login credentials to an online account, it can be devastating.  Depending on what was compromised and what was lost, you may have an expensive and time-consuming task on your hands.  So the bad guys took your user ID and password, or some other personal information.  Was it worth it?  There is an active resale market for this information, and some ...

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BEC – How Cyber-Attackers Can Rip Off Your Company

ic3We warned our readers about the FBI alert regarding the Business Email Compromise scam on July 6.  Cyber-criminals have successfully bilked US companies of over 3 billion dollars since January 2015.  Typically this exploit starts by the attacker gaining knowledge of the CEO’s or other highly placed executive’s user credentials to their email account.  This is most often done using a spearphishing email, but could also be accomplished ...

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NIST Nixes TFA Via SMS

NISTHoly acronyms Batman!  What the heck does this headline mean?  Well, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has removed two-factor authentication (TFA) via short-messaging service (SMS) from the approved list of two-factor authentication methods.  The reason is that SMS is an unencrypted service, and the lack of encryption makes it too insecure for use in Federal authentication systems.  NIST is recommending that all companies ...

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Changing Passwords Regularly May Be Insecure

password1Bruce Schneier had an interesting post where he attacked the commonplace practice of requiring regular password changes.  Usual corporate IT policies require changes every 90 days, and in some high security environments, more frequently than that.

The basic issue with frequent password changes is that humans will create a system that makes it easy to remember the next iteration of the password.  This ...

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10 Ways To Drive A Cybersecurity Geek Crazy

crazyActually there are way more than ten ways, but here are some I see all the time.  We can play this like a game, so go ahead and give yourself a point for each one of these that apply to you.  This game scores like golf – low score wins.

  1. Weak, Guessable Passwords – short and simple passwords may be easy for you to remember, but they make an attacker’s job simpler too. ...
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Setting Up TFA Without Authenticator

tfaMaybe you like the idea of two-factor authentication, but the Google Authenticator smartphone app seems too cumbersome.  Or maybe you are not a smartphone owner, because you don’t like the idea of a phone that can track your location to within a few feet, and keeps sharing all your personal data with the apps on your phone.  So you own a flip phone with ...

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Removing TFA from an Account in Authenticator

google-authenticatorGoogle Authenticator is my favorite go-to app for setting up two-factor authentication.  But what if you want to remove an account from Google Authenticator?

I set up two-factor authentication for Facebook and the Authenticator app did not work.  So I tried again, and ended up with two accounts on the Authenticator list, neither of which worked.  This pushed other working accounts down far enough that ...

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Two Factor Authentication for WordPress

Hardening and securing WordPress websites is one of my specialties.  We have reported previously on three of the best WordPress security plugins, Sucuri, Bulletproof, and WordFence.  I can tell you that each of these plug-ins performed admirably against the continuous barrage of brute force and password reset attacks that my sites have endured.  Security appeared to be strong, but I wanted more.

I have been deploying two-factor authentication (TFA) everywhere I can, in order to overcome the inherent weakness of password ...

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Mac Users Targeted By Cyber-Attackers

applelogoThe Apple OSX platform has long held the cache of being invulnerable to attack.  Cyber-criminals have be crafting more exploits to target Macs, iPhones, and iPads, especially since 2012.  The reason for this, as explored in a recent article on SiliconBeat, is that Apple users tend to have more disposable income.  If you willingly pay more to have “the best” or most ...

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