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Comment Re:I am a Silverlight Developer (Score 1) 580

We don't really deal with smaller enterprise, so I'm not sure how well my experience will relate. We tend to find that our clients treat "our software won't work with your PC" types of problems as OUR problem, not theirs, and something we should address, not them. I'm yet to see a client bring it up - we have to be pretty pro-active, and we've been caught in situations once or twice where we've had to scramble to support older browsers at very short notice, because they were running very old versions and gave us the choice between making it work on their systems or them considering us in breach.

The specific situation that seems to cause it is that site managers are responsible for budget for purchasing IT infrastructure, but central IT manages the infrastructure. You get a few site officers refusing to retire PCs that are well past their expected lifetimes, and central IT says "sure you can keep using it, but forget updates: the latest OS we've tested on that hardware is XP without SPs, and the latest browser we've tested on XP without SPs is IE6, so that's what you stay with." I think central IT are trying to force the site managers to spend budget on IT gear, but IT is often not involved in our proposals (they just manage the infrastructure,) so all that happens is whichever higher-up decided to go with our solution tells us, basically, "I don't care if there's a fight between a site officer and our IT dep't over budget, or if MS have deprecated that technology, or whatever other excuses you have - we've bought your solution for our EXISTING infrastructure, and you need to make it work on that."

Comment Meetings done right... (Score 1) 145

I'm a programmer, and I find that far too many of my colleagues assume that any and all meetings are inherently worthless. I've worked in teams who got great value out of well-directed meetings. We avoid double-handling problems, we get better use out of the various experience our team members have... It can just work so well.

It's such a shame that so many places get it so wrong, and so much IT talent has never experienced the increased productivity you can get out of meetings done right.

Comment Re:I am a Silverlight Developer (Score 2, Interesting) 580

We've found entirely the reverse re: enterprise users, albeit with a different plugin. Enterprise users are the ones who force OUR hands. They generally tell us what browser versions and plugins are available in their SOE, and we have to support that or lose the sale. Our clients are exclusively larger enterprises, and our success rate at saying "you just need to install [x] on the machines you're going to use this from" has been zero so far. As a rule of thumb, if it doesn't run on IE7 with Flash installed and nothing else, you're gonna miss some enterprise clients. We've just spent 18 months fighting to get our last client to accept us dropping IE6 support: even though they didn't have any deployed IE6 machines left, they wanted it in the contracts anyway.

Agree completely with you about end users. Most people don't see "you can just install this plugin, restart your browser, and this will work". They see "this doesn't work".

Comment Re:I am a Silverlight Developer (Score 3, Insightful) 580

I know I'm just jumping on the band-wagon here, but I'm a .Net developer who's worked for a couple of shops over the last few years and has seen plenty of new web products started. I've been on at least three projects where we wrote off Silverlight as an option, citing reasons like unwillingness to use the plugin, lack of available developers, and general opinions that the platform was on a fast-track to being canned.

Then again, most products I've worked on with a focus on having a great user experience tend to undergo pretty massive UI overhauls every 18 months to three years, and it's pretty common to use different technologies at each iteration. Being forced into changing UI platforms shouldn't come as any sort of surprise to you.

Comment Re:False Premmise (Score 1) 949

In the programming world, I always got the impression that, collectively, we respected the self-taught coder more than one who spent four years in school being spoon fed how to code.

You've created a false dichotomy. Spending four years doing a degree, for most of the people I hung out with, was nothing about being spoon-fed how to code - most of the people who needed that failed out and went elsewhere. Some of them struggled through. Lots of us were good coders long before we went to uni, and we breezed through and spent most of our time messing about with stuff that interested us: we often got worse grades than the ones struggling through, because they were focusing on meeting the criteria while we were off messing with something fun.

Most of the (good) coders I've ever worked with have been a mix of the two. They taught themselves to code, then went to uni and learned all sorts of new and interesting stuff about coding, as often from their fellow students as from the courses. I've met good coders without training, but I often (not always!) find that a lack of 'four years in school being spoon fed how to code' leads to all sorts of bad habits, poor practices, and general amateurishness. NOT, by any stretch, always! There are great coders who are entirely self-taught - but I'm gun-shy of them, because I've seen some of the bird-nests these people put together.

Comment Re:False Premmise (Score 1) 949

Agree, but I have an insight into the 'appearance' of anti-intellectualism. We have no respect for the traditional signs of an intellectual: research papers, degrees, citations, accreditations are meaningless: we just care about how GOOD you are. No degree can tell us that: all it tells us is that you satisfied some panel or series of lecturers who were interested, not in your ability, but in whether you satisfied some set of criteria that probably aren't really all that relevant.

It can easily LOOK like anti-intellectualism, but it's just that we'd prefer to judge for ourselves, thank you very much, and not defer to the opinions of a bunch of people we don't know.

Comment Re:Salting with username (Score 1) 409

Wow. Just wow. I NEVER learn anything from /. comment threads, especially about security (I would argue that nobody does, because most of what's said is wrong), and I think I just did!

It's worth noting that this benefit relies on your application server not being compromised, as if an attacker owns that, they can change code to move the client-based hash step to the server (changing the client AND server code), and still see passwords. So you're really only protecting against network-sniffing attacks, which are USUALLY prevented by SSL anyway. This actually gives me an idea, but I'll have to think about it. Something along the lines of using an MD5 of the sign-in page itself as a part of the process, so changing the page will break things. That's obviously vulnerable to exactly the same attack, but perhaps there's an extension to this which might work.

You have also prevented plain-text reveal in the situation where someone somehow intercepts the post-SSL stream but can't alter the application, which is certainly a possible scenario.

There's a major benefit, with this scheme, if you're using a dedicated ssl server and relying on a secure network behind that (which is not uncommon in higher-load applications) - compromise of the ssl server doesn't lead to compromise of plain-text passwords. The attacker would need to take the next step and own the application servers behind that, and given that this scenario only crops up in high-volume load-balanced systems, there are likely lots of identical systems to deal with, and (hopefully) switched-on administrators and security experts, so adding another step like that could vastly decrease the chance of a complete compromise. The attacker would already own login details to the attacked site (they could replay hashes from the owned SSL appliance), so there's every chance they'll take that and never even try to compromise the application code itself, thus never leading to the plain-text reveal.

Comment Re:Salting with username (Score 1) 409

You've basically described how it usually works, except that instead of having the client perform a hash, we have the client encrypt the communication over SSL. The advantage, that the password can't end up accidentally in a log file, means now that instead of the password, the hash that the client sends would end up in the log file. I'm worried that you're adding to the complexity of your code in order to prevent an avoidable bug - it seems like you'd be better to just ensure that sensitive information isn't showing up in your logs (which is a crucial step in avoiding security holes; it's specifically addressed in, for example, the PCI security standard).

Comment Re:Are MD and SHA easily reversible? (Score 1) 409

There should be one salt per user, not one per application. This means that the whole effort to generate a rainbow table is only applicable to the one user you're trying to recover the password for; the rainbow table for the next user will be totally different, because there's a new salt. This means that all of your work to hack one account can't be re-used for the next. Salting isn't about preventing this sort of attack; it's about multiplying the effort to compromise n accounts by n. If it takes the attacker 5 days to compute a nice big look-up table, they now have to repeat that per account, instead of having now compromised every account.

Comment Re:Who cares what method? (Score 1) 409

Uh, what? The browser hashes the password? Now you don't even NEED the password; you have the hash, and that's all the client needs to submit to gain access! You just pretend that you hashed the password and transmit the hash. No password needed! Unless, of course, you submit the password AND the hash, but that doesn't gain anything over just submitting the password (except perhaps proving that the client has a working hash function).

Remember, we're talking about what happens when the database of stored hashes is compromised, and having the browser do the hashing makes this scenario MUCH worse.

Comment Re:News at 11 (Score 2) 409

A correctly-implemented salted-password scheme uses a different salt per user - it doesn't even matter if it's trivial to predict. The point is that it multiplies the computational load to compromise n users by n. You can't generate a single look-up table any more.

Further, the salt is combined with the key, not the user's password. If it was just combined with the password before the encryption, when you used your look-up table to find out the (password+salt) used to generate a particular hash, you would then de-combine the known salt and have the password! Simple.

Finally, because the salt is combined with the encryption key, using one salt for your whole system would be no different to just using a different key.

With the correct scheme, adding a per-user salt means (even if the salt is trivial to discover) you are using a DIFFERENT key to compute the hash for each user. Now you may still be able to generate a large look-up table of hashes to compromise an individual hash, but it will only work for ONE user account (barring salt collisions), and so a 24-hour run (your number) will be required PER USER ACCOUNT. This means that a few dozen, or even a few hundred, accounts may be compromised, but this will be a much smaller fraction than if you weren't using salts (or were using them incorrectly, as is so common).

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