Some of the password stupidity we suffer from today comes from the two weeks after the release of Crack. At the time, UNIX password files were world readable by default and anyone suggesting shadow password files was the way to go was attacked for 'security through security'. Crack upped the ante because it could make 6? 60? attempts a second and so a moderate sized cluster of SPARCstations could test every password in a million entry dictionary in a weekend.
But readable password hashes have gone away. Passwords are only
readable on systems that are already quite broken. (Any old Unix
systems still running are quite broken.) To set password policy
based this case is all wrong.
Battery Horse Staple Correct is 2^60 bits of work factor. That is not strong enough.
If the target system has already been broken into, correct. But if one has to brute force through a login program? 2^60 is more than plenty!
If I have done my math correctly, to be certain of breaking in in
100-years, one would have to get the login to test passwords for
you at over a 6 MHz rate that entire time. Appropriately faster to
get in appropriately sooner.
Only the crappiest systems will have no login throttling and if
they are that crappy they will respond far slower than that
because they are….crappy.
This gets me to an oft ignored point: passwords (something that has to be tested against some authority) are completely different from encryption passphrases (which, given ciphertext, can be tested in parallel and at arbitrary speeds).
Rules for passwords need to be completely different from those for encryption passphrases. In that case, you are correct: "there is simply no ENCRYPTION PASSPHRASE that is long enough to be secure that is short enough to be memorable".
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