how to ensure that my Linux password can't be cracked by any user or even superuser
Linux - NewbieThis Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question?
If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!
Welcome to LinuxQuestions.org, a friendly and active Linux Community.
You are currently viewing LQ as a guest. By joining our community you will have the ability to post topics, receive our newsletter, use the advanced search, subscribe to threads and access many other special features. Registration is quick, simple and absolutely free. Join our community today!
Note that registered members see fewer ads, and ContentLink is completely disabled once you log in.
If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you need to reset your password, click here.
Having a problem logging in? Please visit this page to clear all LQ-related cookies.
Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
This guide was created as an overview of the Linux Operating System, geared toward new users as an exploration tour and getting started guide, with exercises at the end of each chapter.
For more advanced trainees it can be a desktop reference, and a collection of the base knowledge needed to proceed with system and network administration. This book contains many real life examples derived from the author's experience as a Linux system and network administrator, trainer and consultant. They hope these examples will help you to get a better understanding of the Linux system and that you feel encouraged to try out things on your own.
Click Here to receive this Complete Guide absolutely free.
Distribution: Debian Wheezy, Jessie, Sid/Experimental, playing with LFS.
Originally Posted by Ser Olmy
Let's further assume that the attacker only has to search through half the keyspace before a matching hash is found. He'll then have cracked the password after roughly 730,750,818,665,451,459,101,842,416,358 seconds, which is a little over 23 sextillion years. By then, the hacker will have had to deal with some other pressing issues, such as the heat-death of the universe.
One of the assumptions people are making to illustrate that it's next to impossible to crack a password, is that the hash is seeded with a truely random number.
Usually they aren't. Truely random numbers are extremely difficult to come by, and this is an achilles heel for all algorithms.
Hashes aren't seeded, they are salted. Each piece of data will always generate the same hash with the same salt, that's the whole point of hashing. The strength of a hash lies in the non-reversible nature of the algorithm. No entropy or randomness is required.
The reason salts are used is to prevent direct comparison with existing hashes. If I have a list of passwords and their corresponding hash values in a file, and I later come across the password hash "b036d59cb7f7687a68ba8490b8f57387c785f861" and it turns out it's listed in that file, I will instantly know the corresponding password. If salts are used, one would need one list of passwords and hashes for each possible salt value.
A salt is generated when a password is created or changed and a new hash needs to be generated, and that's an event that happens sufficiently rarely that the accuracy of random generators isn't much of an issue.
But when it comes to generating session keys for symmetric encryption, or key pairs for asymmetric encryption, the randomness of the PRNG is a huge issue. This can be a major problem on embedded systems that need to generate keys when booted for the very first time, since there may not be many sources of entropy available at that time.
So much bigger as to render the attack implausible, but not impossible.
Exactly. This was the original reason cracking a DES hash was considered "impossible" in the 70s. The rainbow table was something on the order of 8GB. The larger disk sizes were 300MB. Now disk sizes are 3-5 TB.. but the rainbow tables are in the petabyte range (if not exabyte).. thus making them implausable.
Another attack is the parallel search - if you have a million CPUs to throw at the problem... you likely won't need to keep the results except from the single one that succeeded. But more likely is that there would be a hybrid approach - a lot of different rainbow tables to narrow the search down, then a bunch of CPUS to throw at the remainder.
As stated in the articles, there is a delicate balance between a good password and a password you can remember.
I say don't worry too much about entropy. Hackers typically don't use entropy-based methods to crack. They use dictionaries, because people use words as passwords.
The password should NOT be a common word, and should include numbers. It should also be easy to remember or reproduce by the user.
I'm wondering about Schneider's advice here:
2. Don't bother updating your password regularly. Sites that require 90-day -- or whatever -- password upgrades do more harm than good. Unless you think your password might be compromised, don't change it.
3. Beware the "secret question." You don't want a backup system for when you forget your password to be easier to break than your password. Really, it's smart to use a password manager. Or to write your passwords down on a piece of paper and secure that piece of paper.
Although 90 days is a bit excessive, I think you should change your password once in a while, like every 6 mo - 1 year.
I really dislike the secret questions, it all sounds like a method of rather easily bypassing your password using personal info. You know what I do ? I put in unrelated information into there.
Write passwords on a piece of paper ? Um, no. I'm not doing that. A password safe was a much better idea.
Last edited by metaschima; 03-15-2014 at 09:01 PM.
Use a strong password, never go online with your machine, never install software on your machine that is not known to be safe, and never allow anyone else direct access to your computer. Do those things and you should be good to go, but you never know these days, so no guarantees. For many people, a strong password along with a firewall and perhaps some security software and a bit of common sense in computing is all they use. They then go forward hoping for the best.
Either way, let us know what you end up doing to protect yourself, and how it works out for you.
Choice of a strong password is actually a very difficult thing for a human to do. Humans tend to be predictable in how we use word and digit combinations, which allows password cracking to be very effective, despite the theoretically large entropy space.
I found this to be a very informative article. http://arstechnica.com/security/2013...r-passwords/1/
My apologies, just realised that this article is linked in the Bruce Schneier article that Beryllos linked in post #26.[/edit]