Yesterday, I finally created a new password for myself. Now, changing passwords all over the world is what I should do. But it isn’t easy.
One important thing: the new password is XKCD 936 compatible. It makes no sense at all and is 32 characters (29 letters) long. I kept myself within ASCII, specifically 0x20 + 0x61…0x7A. The previous password was 9 characters long and a few (4 or 5) years old.
The Great List of Password Changes¶
After updating the most important passwords (Linux, Google, Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, Reddit, Remember the Milk, Trello), I took an analog piece of paper and wrote down all the places where I should change my password. I wrote down 26 different places. We will go through them (including the above ones, save for Linux.)
Password Update Wall of Fame¶
In alphabetical order,
- Arch User Repository
- Khan Academy
- MediaWiki (Wikipedia etc.)
- Remember the Milk
All of those make it easy to change your password. Just go to the profile page, find the appropriate fields, fill them (sometimes your previous password is needed, sometimes it isn’t, that’s generally fine) and kaboom, your password is changed.
Services marked with an asterisk sent me an e-mail confirmation, which is even better.
Password Update Wall of Amnesia¶
I had to simulate amnesia for those services. I couldn’t find a Password reset functionality or it was broken.
- DISQUS has a nice password update link. One problem, it doesn’t work. After simulating amnesia, all is well.
- Couldn’t find a valid option for what I needed, so I simulated amnesia and it worked just fine.
- Some passwords were my previous password, others were my unsafe passwords, others weren’t my password at all. All were changed to the unsafe passwords, sometimes with a need to simulate amnesia.
Password Update Wall of BULLSHIT¶
Those services are SHIT in terms of password reset! I have absolutely no idea why I have an account with them!
- It wanted a CAPTCHA, link click and other magic. Moreover, passwords are limited to 16 characters. Enough to type half of my password, at least, but this is still bad! The proper upper limit is NONE.
- A Polish IM. It required amnesia, a difficult CAPTCHA, and when I typed my password, it rejected it without any meaningful error messages (an exclamation mark isn’t considered a valid error message.)
- Sixteen characters, no spaces, requires fancy characters. I did not change my password, because it won’t let me. Oh, and aren’t those passwords used for Windows 8, making it even less secure, considering that passwords are saved using a reversible encryption method if you use the fancy new authentication methods (PIN/Picture Password) <http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/10/experts-windows-8-features-make-account-passwords-easier-to-steal/>!
- I trust them with my money, but they believe that my password is weak (1/3) and have a 20 character limit. I took the half and added a ! so they would let me use it.
- You need to do it from within the desktop app. Which crashes for me under Linux due to a recent update. And I need to do important work under Linux. So the password will get updated when I will get (a) to Windows; (b) Steam for Linux working.
How to do a proper password update process (for web devs)¶
- User logged in
- Profile/settings page should contain a field for the current password (for added security) and two fields for the new password and its confirmation.
- User forgot their password
- Ask for an e-mail or the username. Then, do an e-mail confirmation and let the user set his password. Ask twice for the new password.
- Limits, requirements etc.
- Lower limit of 8 characters should be good enough for most people, and upper limit should not exist. A password meter like zxcvbn by Dropbox would also be a great idea.