Simon Willison’s Weblog

Blogmarks tagged passwords

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datasette-auth-passwords. My latest plugin: datasette-auth-passwords provides a mechanism for signing into Datasette using a username and password (which is verified in order to set a ds_actor authentication cookie). So far it only supports passwords that are hard-coded into Datasette’s configuration via environment variables, but I plan to add database-backed user accounts in the future. # 13th July 2020, 11:39 pm

Apple password-manager-resources (via) Apple maintain on open source repository full of heuristics for implementing smart password managers. It lists password rules for different sites (e.g. min/max length, special characters required), change password URLs for different services and sites that share credential backends—like and They accept pull requests! # 9th June 2020, 4:21 am

Password Tips From a Pen Tester: Common Patterns Exposed (via) Pipal is a tool for analyzing common patterns in passwords. It turns out if you make people change their password every three months and force at least one uppercase letter plus a number they pick “Winter2018”. # 12th June 2018, 3:35 pm

I’ve Just Launched “Pwned Passwords” V2 With Half a Billion Passwords for Download (via) Troy Hunt has collected 501,636,842 passwords from a wide collection of major breaches. He suggests using the to build a password strength checker that can say “your password has been used by 53,274 other people”. The full collection is available as a list of SHA1 codes (brute-force reversible but at least slightly obfuscated) in an 8GB file or as an API. Where things get really clever is the API design: you send just the first 5 characters of the SHA1 hash of the user’s password and the API responds with the full list of several hundred hashes that match that prefix. This lets you build a checking feature without sharing full passwords with a remote service, if you don’t want to host the full 8GB of data yourself. # 22nd February 2018, 7:24 pm incident report for 04/09/2010. An issue was posted to the Apache JIRA containing an XSS attack (disguised using TinyURL), which stole the user’s session cookie. Several admin users clicked the link, so JIRA admin credentials were compromised. The attackers then changed the JIRA attachment upload path setting to point to an executable directory, and uploaded JSPs that gave them backdoor access to the file system. They modified JIRA to collect entered passwords, then sent password reset e-mails to team members and captured the new passwords that they set through the online form. One of those passwords happened to be the same as the user’s shell account with sudo access, leading to a full root compromise of the machine. # 14th April 2010, 9:08 am

Facebook Hacked By 4chan, Accounts Compromised. It wasn’t Facebook that got hacked: 4chan members got hold of a list of usernames and passwords from an insecure Christian dating site and started using them to raise complete hell. Yet another demonstration that storing your user’s passwords in the clear is extremely irresponsible, and also a handy reminder that regular users who “don’t have anything worth securing” actually have a great deal to lose if their password gets out. # 23rd August 2009, 10:02 am

The Anatomy Of The Twitter Attack. Long-winded explanation of the recent Twitter break-in, but you can scroll to the bottom for a numbered list summary. The attacker first broke in to a Twitter employee’s personal Gmail account by “recovering” it against an expired Hotmail account (which the attacker could hence register themselves). They gained access to more passwords by searching for e-mails from badly implemented sites that send you your password in the clear. # 20th July 2009, 12:55 am

Weak Password Brings “Happiness” to Twitter Hacker. The full story on the Twitter admin account hack. I bet there are a LOT of web applications out there that don’t track and rate-limit failed password attempts. # 7th January 2009, 12:04 pm

Antipatterns for sale. Twply collected over 800 Twitter usernames and passwords (OAuth can’t arrive soon enough) and was promptly auctioned off on SitePoint to the highest bidder. # 2nd January 2009, 10:48 am

Facebook’s new signup process. It looks like they’ve dropped the “enter your password twice” pattern. Is this really a good idea? I suppose if people mis-type it they can always use forgotten password to set a new one. # 12th December 2008, 11:43 am

Facebook Security Advice: Never Ever Enter Your Passwords On Another Site, Unless We Ask You To. Nice to see TechCrunch highlighting the hypocrisy of Facebook advising their users to never enter their Facebook credentials on another site, then asking them for their webmail provider password so they can scrape their address book. # 9th August 2008, 10:18 am

Changeset 8162. “Implemented a secure password reset form that uses a token and prompts user for new password”—also sneaks base36 encoding and decoding in to Django. # 31st July 2008, 10:54 pm

The password anti-pattern. What I don’t understand is why Google / Yahoo! / other webmail providers haven’t just deployed a simple OAuth-style API for accessing the address book. Sites have been scraping them for years anyway; surely it’s better to offer an official API than continue to see users hand out their passwords? # 12th October 2007, 9:25 am

Choosing Secure Passwords. Bruce Schneier describes the state of the art in password cracking software. # 11th January 2007, 2:55 pm

ephemeral profiles (cuz losing passwords is common amongst teens). Lost your password? Create a new profile; you had too many friends you didn’t know anyway. # 7th January 2007, 10:37 pm

Real-World Passwords. Random passwords phished from MySpace are surprisingly decent. # 14th December 2006, 2:14 pm

Will Trade Passwords For Chocolate (via) I’m not at all surprised. Most people see passwords as more of an annoyance than a security measure. # 20th April 2004, 4:27 am