253.777.0763    Get SUPPORT

Understanding the New NIST Guidelines for Password Security

Understanding the New NIST Guidelines for Password Security

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has released Special Publication 800-63B, titled Digital Identity Guidelines. The document outlines major changes to the ways password security should be approached and leaves a lot of what network administrators and software developers have implemented recently to be wrong Today, we’ll take a look at the publication, and try to make sense of the sudden change of course.

NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency that works under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote U.S. innovation and competitiveness by advancing a uniform measurement standard. Many NIST guidelines become the foundation for best practices in data security. As a result, any publication they produce having to do with cyber or network security should be considered.

A Look at SP 800-63B
The newest password guidelines are a swift about-face in strategy as compared to previous NIST suggestions. Instead of a strategy of ensuring that all passwords meet some type of arbitrary complexity requirements, the new strategy is to create passwords that are easier and more intuitive. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Passwords should be compared to dictionaries and commonly-used passwords
  • Eliminate or reduce complexity rules for passwords
  • All printable characters allowed, including spaces
  • Expiration of passwords no longer based on time password has been in use
  • Maximum length increased to 64 characters.

Basically, the new guidelines recommend longer passphrases to the complex passwords as they are hard for people to remember, and even with complexity rules in place, it was becoming increasingly easy for algorithms to crack passwords (seen in the comic strip below).

ib nist cartoon 1

As stated before, NIST is not a regulatory organization, but federal agencies and contractors use NIST’s information in order to set up secure computing environments in which to display, store, and share sensitive unclassified information.

In making these changes to password strategy, NIST is now considering the fact that many industry professionals knew: a password you can’t remember may be secure, but if it’s so secure that you have to rely on third-party software to utilize it, it’s not really that effective at mitigating risk. NIST now looks at the passphrase strategy, along with two-factor authentication as the go-to risk management strategy. SMS-based two-factor authentication was not mentioned in the final report but has come under scrutiny as it has contributed to multiple hacks in recent times.

The NIST also explicitly commands that network administrators be mindful to forbid commonly used passwords; effectively creating a blacklist of passwords. The new guidelines also suggest that users shouldn’t be using the password hints or knowledge-based authentication options; a common practice among banking and FinTech applications to this day. We’ll see if there is a strategic alteration in these companies’ practices as the new NIST guidelines become best practices.

If you are looking for more information about best password practices and data security, the IT experts at Graemouse Technologies are here to help. Call us today at 253.777.0763 to have your password strategy assessed by the professionals.

Comic by XKCD.

Cryptomining is Inspiring Cybercrime
Know Your Tech: CMS
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Sunday, November 18 2018
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR-Code dieser Seite

Tag Cloud

Printer IT Services BYOD Virtual Assistant Android Outsourced IT WiFi Emails Specifications Router Business Saving Money Internet Office Voice over Internet Protocol Public Cloud eWaste Smartphone HIPAA Data Storage Wireless Internet Safety Redundancy Computer Care Malware Phishing Network Safe Mode Windows 10 Smartphones Hackers Cloud Managed IT Services User Tips Telephone System Encryption Access Control Identity Theft Data Efficiency Innovation Password Wiring Hiring/Firing Bring Your Own Device Keyboard Password Manager Criminal Google Paperless Office Passwords Cybersecurity Cache BDR Data loss VoIP Remote Monitoring Flash Gadgets Data Security Vulnerability Travel Data Protection Website Credit Cards Settings Workplace Tips Government Business Continuity Firewall Office 365 Machine Learning Cybercrime Artificial Intelligence Software Holiday Windows Unified Threat Management Comparison Business Management Ransomware Bing Virtualization Data Breach Augmented Reality Mobile Devices Miscellaneous OneNote IBM Solid State Drive Health Operating System Managed Service Provider Managed IT Services Private Cloud Technology Backup Inventory Sports Work/Life Balance Content Management IT Consultant Spam Blocking Small Business Telephone Systems Applications Internet of Things Supercomputer Windows 10 Microsoft Business Intelligence IT Management Alert Data Recovery Windows 7 Money Collaboration Conferencing Automation Managed IT User Error Networking App Skype CES Scam Cleaning Unsupported Software Security Start Menu Social Engineering How To Information Social Media Cryptocurrency Help Desk Online Shopping Communications Computers Spam Update Apps FCC Blockchain VPN Human Resources Microsoft Office Devices Hardware Google Docs Managed Service Data Management Tip of the Week Legal Business Computing Excel Physical Security Google Drive Connectivity IT Plan Title II Cortana Wi-Fi Quick Tips Two-factor Authentication Upgrade Privacy Facebook IT Support Infrastructure Servers Law Enforcement Tech Term Hosted Solutions Meetings Browser Employer-Employee Relationship Network Congestion Warranty Communication Evernote Server USB Data Backup Save Money Productivity Word Computer Cloud Computing Avoiding Downtime Email Fraud Bandwidth Network Security Patch Management Best Practices Chrome Mobile Device Management HVAC The Internet of Things

Newsletter Sign Up