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On the Semantic Patterns of Passwords and their Security Impact RAFAEL VERAS, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, JULIE THORPE UNIVERSITY OF ONTARIO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY.

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Presentation on theme: "On the Semantic Patterns of Passwords and their Security Impact RAFAEL VERAS, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, JULIE THORPE UNIVERSITY OF ONTARIO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY."— Presentation transcript:

1 On the Semantic Patterns of Passwords and their Security Impact RAFAEL VERAS, CHRISTOPHER COLLINS, JULIE THORPE UNIVERSITY OF ONTARIO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY PRESENTER: KYLE WALLACE

2 A Familiar Scenario… Password: “What should I pick as my new password?” User Name: CoolGuy90

3 A Familiar Scenario… “Musical!Snowycat90”

4 A Familiar Scenario… But how secure is “Musical!Snowycat90” really? (18 chars) ◦“Musical” – Dictionary word, possibly related to hobby ◦“!” – Filler character ◦“Snowy” – Dictionary word, attribute to “cat” ◦“cat” – Dictionary word, animal, possibly pet ◦“90” – Number, possibly truncated year of birth 15/18 characters are related to dictionary words! Why do we pick the passwords that we do?

5 Password Patterns? “Even after half a century of password use in computing, we still do not have a deep understanding of how people create their passwords” –Authors Are there ‘meta-patterns’ or preferences that can be observed across how people choose their passwords? Do these patterns/preferences have an impact on security?

6 Contributions Use NLP to segment, classify, and generalize semantic categories Describe most common semantic patterns in RockYou database A PCFG that captures structural, semantic, and syntactic patterns Evaluation of security impact, comparison with previous studies

7 Contributions Use NLP to segment, classify, and generalize semantic categories Describe most common semantic patterns in RockYou database A PCFG that captures structural, semantic, and syntactic patterns Evaluation of security impact, comparison with previous studies

8 Segmentation Decomposition of passwords into constituent parts ◦Passwords contain no whitespace characters (usually) ◦Passwords contain filler characters (“gaps”) between segments Ex: crazy2duck93^ -> {crazy, duck} & {2,93^} Issue: What about strings that parse multiple ways?

9 Coverage Prefer fewer, smaller gaps to larger ones Ex: Anyonebarks98 (13 characters long)

10 Splitting Algorithm Source corpora: Raw word list ◦Taken from COCA (Contemporary Corpus of American English) Trimmed version of COCA: ◦3 letter words: Frequency of 100+ ◦2 letter words: Top 37 ◦1 letter words: a, I Also collected list of names, cities, surnames, months, and countries

11 Splitting Algorithm

12 Common Words

13 Part-of-Speech Tagging

14 Semantic Classification Assigns a semantic classifier to each password segment ◦Only assigned to nouns and verbs WordNet: A graph of concepts expressed as a set of synonyms ◦“Synsets” are arranged into hierarchies, more general at top Fall back to source corpora for proper nouns ◦Tag with female name, male name, surname, country, or city

15 Semantic Classification Tags represented as word.pos.#, where # is the WordNet ‘sense’

16 Semantic Generalization

17 W=1000 (gold), W=5000 (red), W=10000(blue)

18 Contributions Use NLP to segment, classify, and generalize semantic categories Describe most common semantic patterns in RockYou database A PCFG that captures structural, semantic, and syntactic patterns Evaluation of security impact, comparison with previous studies

19 Classification RockYou leak (2009) contained over 32 million passwords Effect of generalization can be seen in a few cases (in blue) ◦Some generalizations better than others (Ex: ‘looted’ vs ‘bravo100’) Some synsets are not generalized (in red) ◦Ex: puppy.n.01 -> puppy.n.01

20 Summary of Categories Love (6,7) Places (3, 13) Sexual Terms (29, 34, 54, 69) Royalty (25, 59, 60) Profanity (40, 70, 72) Animals (33, 36, 37, 92, ) Food (61, 66, 76, 82, 93) Alcohol (39) Money (46, 74) *Some categories expanded from two letter acronyms +Some categories contain noise from names dictionary

21 Top 100 Semantic Categories

22 Contributions Use NLP to segment, classify, and generalize semantic categories Describe most common semantic patterns in RockYou database A PCFG that captures structural, semantic, and syntactic patterns Evaluation of security impact, comparison with previous studies

23 Probabilistic Context-Free Grammar

24 Semantic PCFG

25 Sample PCFG

26 RockYou Base Structures (Top 50)

27 Contributions Use NLP to segment, classify, and generalize semantic categories Describe most common semantic patterns in RockYou database A PCFG that captures structural, semantic, and syntactic patterns Evaluation of security impact, comparison with previous studies

28 Building a Guess Generator Cracking attacks consist of three steps: ◦Generate a guess ◦Hash the guess using the same algorithm as target ◦Check for matches in the target database Most popular methods (using John the Ripper program) ◦Word lists (from previous breaks) ◦Brute force (usually after exhausting word lists)

29 Guess Generator At a high level: ◦Output terminals in highest probability order ◦Iteratively replaces higher probability terminals with lower probability ones ◦Uses priority queue to maintain order Will this produce the same list of guesses every time?

30 Guess Generator Example

31 Mangling Rules Passwords aren’t always strictly lowercase ◦Beardog123lol ◦bearDOG123LoL ◦BearDog123LoL Three types of rules: ◦Capitalize first word segment ◦Capitalize whole word segment ◦CamelCase on all segments Any others?

32 Comparison to Weir Approach Author’s approach seen as an evolution of Weir ◦Weir contains far fewer non-terminals (less precise estimates) ◦Weir does not learn semantic rules (fewer overall terminals) ◦Weir treats grammar and dictionary input separately ◦Authors semantic classification needs to be re-run for changes

33 Password Cracking Experiments Considered 5 methods: ◦Semantic approach w/o mangling rules ◦Semantic approach w/ custom mangling rules ◦Semantic approach w/ JtR’s mangling rules ◦Weir approach ◦Wordlist w/ JtR’s default rules + incremental brute force Attempted to crack LinkedIn and MySpace leaks

34 Experiment 1: RockYou vs LinkedIn 5,787,239 unique passwords Results: ◦Semantic outperforms non- semantic versions ◦Weir approach is worst (67% improvement) ◦Authors approach is more robust against differing demographics

35 Experiment 2: RockYou vs MySpace 41,543 unique passwords Results: ◦Semantic approach outperforms all ◦No-rules performs best ◦Weir approach is worst (32% improvement) ◦Password were phished, quality lowered?

36 Experiment 3: Maximum Crack Rate

37 Experiment 3: Time to Maximum Crack Fit non-linear regression to sample of guess probs. Results: ◦Semantic method has lower guess/second ◦Grammar is much larger than Weir method

38 Issues with Semantic Approach Further study needed into performance bottlenecks ◦Though semantic method is more efficient (high guesses/hit) Approach requires a significant amount of memory ◦Workaround involves probability threshold for adding to queue Duplicates could be produced due to ambiguous splits ◦Ex: (one, go) vs (on, ego)

39 Conclusions There are underlying semantic patterns in password creation These semantics can be captured in a probabilistic grammar This grammar can be used to efficiently generate probable passwords This generator shows (up to) a 67% improvement over previous efforts

40 Thank you! QUESTIONS?


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