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Vendors approve of NIST password draft security recommendations – emojis welcome

Via CSO – “Standards group recommends removing periodic password change requirements – A recently released draft of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) digital identity guidelines has met with approval by vendors. The draft guidelines revise password security recommendations and altering many of the standards and best practices security professionals use when forming policies for their companies.  The new framework recommends, among other things:

  • Remove periodic password change requirements

There have been multiple studies that have shown requiring frequent password changes to actually be counterproductive to good password security, said Mike Wilson, founder of PasswordPing. NIST said this guideline was suggested because passwords should be changed when a user wants to change it or if there is indication of breach.

  • Drop the algorithmic complexity song and dance

No more arbitrary password complexity requirements needing mixtures of upper case letters, symbols and numbers. Like frequent password changes, it’s been shown repeatedly that these types of restrictions often result in worse passwords, Wilson adds. NIST said If a user wants a password that is just emojis they should be allowed.  It’s important to note the storage requirements. Salting, hashing, MAC such that if a password file is obtained by an adversary an offline attack is very difficult to complete.

  • Require screening of new passwords against lists of commonly used or compromised passwords

One of the best ways to ratchet up the strength of users’ passwords is to screen them against lists of dictionary passwords and known compromised passwords, he said. NIST adds that dictionary words, user names, repetitive or sequential patterns all should be rejected…”

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