Lost in Disclosure: On The Inference of Password Composition Policies


Large-scale password data breaches are becoming increasingly commonplace, which has enabled researchers to produce a substantial body of password security research utilising real-world password datasets, which often contain numbers of records in the tens or even hundreds of millions. While much study has been conducted on how password composition policies—sets of rules that a user must abide by when creating a password—influence the distribution of user-chosen passwords on a system, much less research has been done on inferring the password composition policy that a given set of user-chosen passwords was created under. In this paper, we state the problem with the naive approach to this challenge, and suggest a simple approach that produces more reliable results. We also present pol-infer, a tool that implements this approach, and demonstrates its use in inferring password composition policies.

In the 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Software Reliability Engineering Workshops (ISSREW) – 4th International Workshop on Reliability and Security Data Analysis
Computer Scientist

My research interests include software reliability, software verification, and formal methods applied to software engineering. I am also interested in interactive storytelling. For more details, see some of my projects or my selected (or recent) publications. More posts are available in my blog. Follow me on Twitter or add me on LinkedIn.