Password Requirements for DeskDirector

Jason He Updated by Jason He

In this article we will cover how DeskDirector stores passwords and enforces password strength.

Our developers have completed a lot of study around password security for our DD Portal password solution.

In short, DeskDirector uses zxcvbn created by DropBox to enforce password strength. This is not based on password requirement or rules, instead we calculate how fast computer can brute force to guess user's password. The longer it takes the better it is.

zxcvbn provide 5 levels on password strength score, we treat them as following:

  • 0: Very weak
  • 1: Weak
  • 2: So-so
  • 3: Good
  • 4: Great

We currently accept so-so or above.

Saved Passwords

We do not save password against your PSA system, but to our own database. They are saved as hashed and salted values, the original value of password is not saved in plaint text. This is standard security practices, but very important protect our user's passwords.

The purpose of hash and salt is to protect the value of a password. If a database of an application ever got compromised. You can read from Salted Password Hashing - Doing it Right. It is a way to avoid value been retrieved by hacker through brute force or rainbow tables.

In short, the complex algorithm it uses to hash passwords stops attackers from decrypting password values through brute force in short amount of time. If single password requires a year to decrypt, then it is not cost effective for an attacker to do so. It also provides a buffer time for users to change their password.

The salt that added to the password hashing, helps protect from rainbow attack. Where attacker cannot use a list of commonly used password to guess the value of hashed value.

Password strength

Password strength is another hot topic related to passwords. Developers of applications often setup rules to help users strengthen their password.

Many of us have definitely encountered these rules before. You're able to use your own name, date of birth, phone, address etc, but are limited on how the password is built. Does that help? No. The primary reason why passwords easily brute forced by attackers is because Your Password is Too Short.

Do special characters and numbers inside passwords help? Certainly, that means for each character there are more options. But when a rule is defined, it is actually easier for the attacker to guess. They now know exactly what is possible and not possible, less guess work.

Someone might argue that password rules were created by a security expert. The Guy Who Invented Those Annoying Password Rules Now Regrets Wasting Your Time.

The below basic factors determine how fast a computer can crack a user's password.

  • The length of password
  • No character restriction (allow any character including Emoji, Korean, Japanese, French e.t.c.)
  • No user profile related data (not your username, email, phone, address e.t.c.)

Hopefully this article gives better understanding on DeskDirector's password system.

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