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Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 16:20:38 -0700
From: Christopher Taylor <mrcatid@...il.com>
To: discussions@...sword-hashing.net
Subject: Re: [PHC] Re: New password hashing entry: PolyPassHash

Thinking more on it, the 2 AM call problem can be mitigated by keeping a
(threshold - 1) dongle that can be combined with a single engineer's
account to unlock the database in extreme cases.


On Wed, Apr 2, 2014 at 4:10 PM, Chris Taylor <chris@...eclosure.com> wrote:

> Joining the discussion a week late.
>
> This is a neat idea, combining erasure codes with a PHS!  I'm very
> interested in erasure codes, so this caught my eye right away.
>
> The main advantage over multiple master keys is that it appears to be more
> flexible.  Threshold accounts would be the administrator accounts, I
> assume, and an attacker would need to compromise a number of those to
> decrypt the database.  But it doesn't require an exact set of keys but
> "anyone who is available."  I can't see an easy way to automatically
> promote a threshold-less to a threshold account, but perhaps I missed
> something from the paper.
>
> Bootstrapping seems to be an issue, because a threshold of administrators
> would have to help with a restart, as opposed to just one engineer
> answering the 2 AM call.  The partial verification required otherwise seems
> scary to me, but maybe that's just paranoia.
>
> One other issue I see is that it cannot be used with SRP during the the
> bootstrapping process, since the server won't be able to prove knowledge of
> the keys unless I am missing something.  And that may also preclude SRP
> from being used at all, because a server can just consistently "fake" being
> in bootstrapping mode, negating the advantage of SRP.
>
> Do these seem like legitimate issues?
>
> Thanks,
> Chris
>
> *Christopher A. Taylor*
> Software Engineer
> Game Closure
> (404) 561-1533
>
>
> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 9:52 PM, Justin Cappos <jcappos@....edu> wrote:
>
>> The longer explanation is that the Shamir Secret Share stores a random
>> value and that value can be used as a key for symmetric crypto.   Using
>> that key, one can encrypt the salted hashes for some set of accounts.
>> Since the key is protected by the threshold accounts, those accounts are
>> also protected in this case.   Thus if an adversary cannot crack enough of
>> the threshold accounts, they cannot crack any thresholdless accounts, even
>> if they have weak passwords and the attacker can generate new accounts at
>> whim.
>>
>> Thanks,
>> Justin
>>
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 4:38 PM, Justin Cappos <jcappos@....edu> wrote:
>>
>>> There is an option to have accounts that do not count toward the
>>> threshold.   (This is the "thresholdless account" extension in the paper.)
>>>
>>> Sorry for the brevity, about to get on a flight...
>>>
>>> Justin
>>>
>>>
>>> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 4:35 PM, Stephen Touset <stephen@...set.org>wrote:
>>>
>>>> Given a database that requires n shares to start validating passwords,
>>>> what stops an attacker from creating n - 1 accounts with passwords under
>>>> his control?
>>>> --
>>>> Stephen Touset
>>>> stephen@...set.org
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 6:03 AM, Justin Cappos <jcappos@....edu> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> The TLDR version of the scheme is as follows:
>>>>>
>>>>> Today password databases store: "username:salt: securehash(salt,
>>>>> password)"   An attacker can crack passwords individually by guessing the
>>>>> password and computing the salted secure hash.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> PolyPassHash stores: "username:salt:sharenumber: (share(sharenumber)
>>>>> XOR securehash(salt, password))"   So a correct password allows the server
>>>>> to obtain a share in a Shamir Secret store.   The only way to know if the
>>>>> share is valid (and the password is correct) is to have a threshold of
>>>>> shares.   Since a valid server gets many correct login attempts, it can
>>>>> trivially do this.   The attacker needs to simultaneously guess many
>>>>> accounts which increases the needed time exponentially.
>>>>>
>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>> Justin
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 5:34 PM, Justin Cappos <jcappos@....edu>wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> I would like to solicit the community's feedback about an submission
>>>>>> to the PHC called PolyPassHash.
>>>>>>
>>>>>>  This scheme is different than most PHC entries in that it uses a
>>>>>> threshold-based storage technique to prevent passwords from being
>>>>>> individually cracked.   To validate a password, one must recover a share in
>>>>>> a Shamir Secret Store, which necessitates knowing a threshold of correct
>>>>>> passwords.   (There are extensions to allow passwords to be securely
>>>>>> validated by a server upon setup and also to support accounts that do not
>>>>>> count toward the threshold.)
>>>>>>
>>>>>> PolyPassHash gives an exponential increase in the search space an
>>>>>> attacker needs to explore while only increasing the server's time by a
>>>>>> small linear factor.   If you take the three passwords that are composed of
>>>>>> six random characters each and protect them with PolyPassHash, to search
>>>>>> the key space would take every computer on the planet working together
>>>>>> longer than the universe is estimated to have existed.   PolyPassHash is
>>>>>> about as efficient in terms of memory, disk, and CPU time as existing
>>>>>> salted secure hash techniques.   In fact, PolyPassHash is orthogonal to the
>>>>>> secure hashing technique and should integrate with (any?) other submission.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> More information about the scheme (including both technical
>>>>>> documentation and information for a more general audience) is available at:
>>>>>> https://github.com/JustinCappos/PolyPassHash
>>>>>>
>>>>>> There is also a Python implementation available in that repository
>>>>>> and a link to the C implementation (by Santiago Torres) which will be
>>>>>> submitted to the contest.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I welcome any comments or feedback.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>> Justin
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>
>

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