Cracking-resistant password vaults using natural language encoders

Rahul Chatterjee, Joseph Bonneau, Ari Juels, Thomas Ristenpart

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Password vaults are increasingly popular applications that store multiple passwords encrypted under a single master password that the user memorizes. A password vault can greatly reduce the burden on a user of remembering passwords, but introduces a single point of failure. An attacker that obtains a user's encrypted vault can mount offline brute-force attacks and, if successful, compromise all of the passwords in the vault. In this paper, we investigate the construction of encrypted vaults that resist such offline cracking attacks and force attackers instead to mount online attacks. Our contributions are as follows. We present an attack and supporting analysis showing that a previous design for cracking-resistant vaults - the only one of which we are aware - actually degrades security relative to conventional password-based approaches. We then introduce a new type of secure encoding scheme that we call a natural language encoder (NLE). An NLE permits the construction of vaults which, when decrypted with the wrong master password, produce plausible-looking decoy passwords. We show how to build NLEs using existing tools from natural language processing, such as n-gram models and probabilistic context-free grammars, and evaluate their ability to generate plausible decoys. Finally, we present, implement, and evaluate a full, NLE-based cracking-resistant vault system called No Crack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2015 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages481-498
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781467369497
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 17 2015
Event36th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2015 - San Jose, United States
Duration: May 18 2015May 20 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy
Volume2015-July
ISSN (Print)1081-6011

Other

Other36th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2015
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period5/18/155/20/15

Keywords

  • Honey Encryption
  • Language Model
  • PCFG
  • Passowrd Model
  • Password Vault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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  • Cite this

    Chatterjee, R., Bonneau, J., Juels, A., & Ristenpart, T. (2015). Cracking-resistant password vaults using natural language encoders. In Proceedings - 2015 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, SP 2015 (pp. 481-498). [7163043] (Proceedings - IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy; Vol. 2015-July). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/SP.2015.36