About Us

IT Services

Understanding IT

News & Events



Contact Us

  • Register
2 minutes reading time (490 words)

Understanding the New NIST Guidelines for Password Security

Understanding the New NIST Guidelines for Password Security

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has released Special Publication 800-63B, titled Digital Identity Guidelines. The document outlines major changes to the ways password security should be approached and leaves a lot of what network administrators and software developers have implemented recently to be wrong Today, we’ll take a look at the publication, and try to make sense of the sudden change of course.

NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency that works under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its mission is to promote U.S. innovation and competitiveness by advancing a uniform measurement standard. Many NIST guidelines become the foundation for best practices in data security. As a result, any publication they produce having to do with cyber or network security should be considered.

A Look at SP 800-63B
The newest password guidelines are a swift about-face in strategy as compared to previous NIST suggestions. Instead of a strategy of ensuring that all passwords meet some type of arbitrary complexity requirements, the new strategy is to create passwords that are easier and more intuitive. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Passwords should be compared to dictionaries and commonly-used passwords
  • Eliminate or reduce complexity rules for passwords
  • All printable characters allowed, including spaces
  • Expiration of passwords no longer based on time password has been in use
  • Maximum length increased to 64 characters.

Basically, the new guidelines recommend longer passphrases to the complex passwords as they are hard for people to remember, and even with complexity rules in place, it was becoming increasingly easy for algorithms to crack passwords (seen in the comic strip below).

ib nist cartoon 1

As stated before, NIST is not a regulatory organization, but federal agencies and contractors use NIST’s information in order to set up secure computing environments in which to display, store, and share sensitive unclassified information.

In making these changes to password strategy, NIST is now considering the fact that many industry professionals knew: a password you can’t remember may be secure, but if it’s so secure that you have to rely on third-party software to utilize it, it’s not really that effective at mitigating risk. NIST now looks at the passphrase strategy, along with two-factor authentication as the go-to risk management strategy. SMS-based two-factor authentication was not mentioned in the final report but has come under scrutiny as it has contributed to multiple hacks in recent times.

The NIST also explicitly commands that network administrators be mindful to forbid commonly used passwords; effectively creating a blacklist of passwords. The new guidelines also suggest that users shouldn’t be using the password hints or knowledge-based authentication options; a common practice among banking and FinTech applications to this day. We’ll see if there is a strategic alteration in these companies’ practices as the new NIST guidelines become best practices.

If you are looking for more information about best password practices and data security, the IT experts at Alternative IT Solutions are here to help. Call us today at (0)20 8498 4300 to have your password strategy assessed by the professionals.

Comic by XKCD.

Cryptomining is Inspiring Cybercrime
Know Your Tech: CMS


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Sunday, July 22, 2018
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR-Code dieser Seite

Tag Cloud

Tip of the Week Security Technology Best Practices Cloud Business Computing Privacy Network Security Email Google Data Backup Malware Tech Term VoIp Cloud Computing Managed IT Services Hackers Microsoft Managed IT Services Mobile Devices Software Outsourced IT IT Support Hosted Solutions Backup Efficiency Small Business Internet Data Recovery Android Communications Cybercrime Ransomware Innovation BDR Saving Money How To Communication Cybersecurity Internet of Things User Tips Alert Data Network Phishing Artificial Intelligence Two-factor Authentication Smartphone Smartphones Mobile Device Management Data Security Computers Browser Collaboration Router Hardware Windows Chrome Money Productivity Data Protection Business Management Business Continuity Connectivity Disaster Recovery Social Engineering Managed IT Office 365 IT Management BYOD Remote Monitoring Business Intelligence Telephone Systems Spam Identity Theft Business IT Services Windows 10 Word Vulnerability OneNote Budget Operating System Website Comparison Spam Blocking Upgrade Bring Your Own Device Data Breach Value Facebook Work/Life Balance Gadgets Compliance Save Money Avoiding Downtime Private Cloud Workers Update Infrastructure Computer CES Applications Microsoft Office Law Enforcement Apps IT Plan Password Wi-Fi Holiday Content Management Virtualization Unsupported Software Windows 7 Credit Cards VPN Employer-Employee Relationship Mobile Device Paperless Office App Servers Server Data Storage Blockchain Social Media Document Management Networking Redundancy Frequently Asked Questions Big Data Botnet Risk Management Electronic Medical Records PDF Password Management IT Consultant Cortana Bandwidth Skype HIPAA USB SaaS Wireless Charging Hiring/Firing Black Market Hosted Computing Sync Content Filtering Flash Legal Flexibility IBM Amazon Solid State Drive YouTube Virtual Assistant Downtime Excel Business Mangement Devices Travel Telecommuting Windows 10s Telephony Encryption NIST Scam Google Apps Cleaning Specifications Data Management Wire Current Events Government Physical Security Inventory Automation Information Technology webinar Lifestyle Data loss Criminal Addiction Firewall Supercomputer Amazon Web Services IT Support Audit Telephone System Computer Care Root Cause Analysis Tip of the week Gmail Thought Leadership Remote Work Cryptocurrency Voice over Internet Protocol Start Menu Settings Millennials Google Drive Human Resources Sports Knowledge Access Control Regulations Conferencing Mobile Computing Screen Mirroring Online Shopping Training Data Warehousing Smart Tech Windows Server 2008 Recycling Public Cloud Safe Mode Office Tips Leadership Authentication Tools Workforce Staff Smart Office Workplace Tips Network Congestion FENG HBO Cast Cache Marketing Mobility Evernote Computer Fan HVAC eWaste Mobile Entertainment Multi-Factor Security Outlook Password Manager Nanotechnology Digital Signature Enterprise Content Management HaaS Google Docs Theft Charger Netflix Wireless Internet Software as a Service Keyboard The Internet of Things Software Tips Practices Trending Samsung Meetings Patch Management Proactive IT Professional Services Fraud Passwords Recovery Accountants Machine Learning Education Assessment Computer Accessories Congratulations Business Owner Twitter Rootkit Bata Backup Students Television Bluetooth Two Factor Authentication Fiber-Optic Employer Employee Relationship Vendor Management IoT Company Culture Loyalty Worker VoIP Strategy Healthcare Public Computer Office Quick Tips Cables Health Safety Unified Threat Management Save Time Managing Stress Miscellaneous Streaming Media Managed Service Provider Help Desk Analysis Electronic Health Records Windows 10 WiFi Unified Communications Hacking Battery Automobile Insurance Content Filter Consultation File Sharing Thank You Storage Business Technology

Latest News & Events

Alternative IT Solutions is proud to announce the launch of our new website at https://www.alternative-IT.co.uk. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our ser...

Contact Us

Learn more about what Alternative IT Solutions can do for your business.

Call Us Today
Call us today
(0)20 8498 4300

Avocet House, Trinity Park, Trinity Way
London, England E4 8TD