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Protocols for checking compromised credentials

Lucy Li, Bijeeta Pal, Junade Ali, Nick Sullivan, Rahul Chatterjee, Thomas Ristenpart
Proceedings of the 2019 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, pp. 1387-1403. 2019.
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To prevent credential stuffing attacks, industry best practice now proactively checks if user credentials are present in known data breaches. Recently, some web services, such as HaveIBeenPwned (HIBP) and Google Password Checkup (GPC), have started providing APIs to check for breached passwords. We refer to such services as compromised credential checking (C3) services. We give the first formal description of C3 services, detailing different settings and operational requirements, and we give relevant threat models.

One key security requirement is the secrecy of a user’s passwords that are being checked. Current widely deployed C3 services have the user share a small prefix of a hash computed over the user’s password. We provide a framework for empirically analyzing the leakage of such protocols, showing that in some contexts knowing the hash prefixes leads to a 12x increase in the efficacy of remote guessing attacks. We propose two new protocols that provide stronger protection for users’ passwords, implement them, and show experimentally that they remain practical to deploy.

Research Areas

Network Security, Cryptography

Related Projects

Safer Password Systems