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Tuesday, January 27 • 12:00pm - 12:30pm
The Emperor's New Password Manager: Security Analysis of Web-based Password Managers

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Joint work with Zhiwei Li, Warren He, Dawn Song

We conduct a security analysis of five popular web-based password managers. Unlike "local" password managers, web-based password managers run in the browser. We identify four key security concerns for web-based password managers and, for each, identify representative vulnerabilities through our case studies. Our attacks are severe: in four out of the five password managers we studied, an attacker can learn a user's credentials for arbitrary websites. We find vulnerabilities in diverse features like one-time passwords, bookmarklets, and shared passwords. The root-causes of the vulnerabilities are also diverse: ranging from logic and authorization mistakes to misunderstandings about the web security model, in addition to the typical vulnerabilities like CSRF and XSS. Our study suggests that it remains to be a challenge for the password managers to be secure. To guide future development of password managers, we provide guidance for password managers. Given the diversity of vulnerabilities we identified, we advocate a defense-in-depth approach to ensure security of password managers.

avatar for Devdatta Akhawe

Devdatta Akhawe

Security Engineer, Dropbox
Dev is a security engineer at Dropbox. Previously, he was a grad student at UC Berkeley interested in web application security. His research focuses on web application security, browser security, and other related topics. He is also an editor of the Sub Resource Integrity spec and... Read More →

Tuesday January 27, 2015 12:00pm - 12:30pm PST
Annenberg Community Beach House: Track 2 415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, CA 90402

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