Lost in Disclosure: On The Inference of Password Composition Policies

Abstract

Large-scale password data breaches are becoming increasingly commonplace, which has enabled researchers to produce a substantial body of password security research utilising real-world password datasets, which often contain numbers of records in the tens or even hundreds of millions. While much study has been conducted on how password composition policies—sets of rules that a user must abide by when creating a password—influence the distribution of user-chosen passwords on a system, much less research has been done on inferring the password composition policy that a given set of user-chosen passwords was created under. In this paper, we state the problem with the naive approach to this challenge, and suggest a simple approach that produces more reliable results. We also present pol-infer, a tool that implements this approach, and demonstrates its use in inferring password composition policies.

Publication
In the 4th International Workshop on Reliability and Security Data Analysis
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Alexandra Mendes
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on innovative user interfaces for formal methods and mathematical approaches to software quality. I am also interested on innovative and fun ways to teach Computer Science. For more details, see selected publications and some of my projects. Follow me on Twitter or add me on LinkedIn.