Introducing the New and Improved Passport UI

Kelly Strain

Today our team is excited to announce a few enhancements we have made to the Passport UI to improve user experience and efficiency.

First, we’ve updated the look and feel of the system. We have enhanced the aesthetic in order to reinforce function. New, modern font and style choices – guided by Material Design concepts – are not only pleasing to the eye, but allow you to perform the same functions and tasks, with less effort. 

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Font.

Inversoft’s new UI utilizes your OS system font to increase performance and decrease latency.

Color.

Passport’s default color palette provides a variety of contrasting hues and shadows to help establish a seamless sense of depth and separation.

Table Layout.

Static, bordered tables are a thing of the past. Space and simplicity is emphasized, in place of harsh contrasting colors, to create separation within tables. Utilizing full width display allows for more information and functionality.

Consistency.

Buttons and icons are uniform across the new dashboard. You will always know what actions and tools are available to you no matter where you are within Inversoft’s new UI. Consistency highlights the workflow and allows our users to develop usage patterns through familiarity.

While giving you the same features, the new UI provides:

  • Dashboard overview providing metrics and usage at a glance
  • Responsive mobile and desktop screen usage
  • Omnipresent user search bar for fast access to your user data
  • Sidebar navigation
  • Customization options (i.e. brand logo and hex code selection) 

 

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Our hope is that Passport is not only easy to use, but with our new UI you look forward to using it. Keep an eye out for new updates and enhancements.

developerWorks Webinar: How-To Revoke JSON Web Tokens

Kelly Strain

JSON Web Tokens Webinar

JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) are a popular authentication mechanism for good reason. JWTs are designed to be stateless, portable identities making them ideal for consumption by web applications and extremely mobile friendly.

While the stateless benefit of a JWT is great, it does come with a problem: Once a token has been issued to the user, that access token is valid until it expires. This time window poses a security concern.

So how do you revoke JSON web tokens if you need to?

Inversoft has figured out how to revoke JSON Web Tokens with little impact on a security token’s portability. That’s why we’re teaming up with IBM developerWorks for a live coding webinar on Thursday, July 27.

Tune into the webinar to learn:

  • What is the JWT security concern?
  • Why token revocation is necessary?
  • Traditional JWT revocation methods.
  • How Passport solves this issue.

The webinar is free to attend and there will be a Q&A after to ensure you get the JWT answers you need.

Don’t miss this live coding event, register today.

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Revoking JWTs

Brian Pontarelli

I have been talking with developers about JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) recently and a one question keeps coming up: “How do I revoke a JWT?”

If you poke around online, you’ll find that the most common answers are:

  • Set the duration of the JWT to a short period (a few minutes)
  • Implement complicated blacklisting techniques

There is not a simple solution because JWTs are designed to be portable, decoupled, identities. Once you authenticate against an identity provider (IdP) and get back a JWT, you don’t need to ask the IdP if the JWT is valid. This is particularly powerful when you use RSA public/private key signing. The IdP signs the JWT using the private key and then any service that has the public key can verify the integrity of the JWT.

Here’s a diagram that illustrates this architecture:

jwts

The Todo Backend can use the JWT and the public key to verify the JWT and then pull the user’s id (in this case the subject) out of the JWT. The Todo Backend can then use the user’s id to perform operations on that user’s data. However, because the Todo Backend isn’t verifying the JWT with the IdP, it has no idea if an administrator has logged into the IdP and locked or deleted that user’s account. Continue reading

Stop Storing My Password in Plaintext

Brian Pontarelli

Believe it or not there are still companies emailing users with plaintext passwords. Worse yet, some systems are storing plaintext passwords in the database. Storing or emailing plaintext passwords can increase security vulnerabilities by as much as 10x. 

CU Boulder, a premier university, still emails their passwords in plaintext. Regardless of how complex a password is, if it is stored or emailed in plaintext, that password is easily accessible to anyone and security is compromised at a glance.

Bottom line. Do not store or email your passwords in plaintext. It’s a horrible idea. Here’s why:

Storing plaintext passwords

  • If the database is compromised, the hacker now has access to everyone’s password. That means people who use the same password across sites are in jeopardy of having their bank accounts drained or their identities stolen. 
  • If there are vulnerabilities that would allow SQL injection, hackers don’t even need access to the database server to get passwords. 
  • Database backups are also vulnerable. A hacker can now attack a backup server and get access to passwords.

Emailing plaintext passwords

  • Emails can be forwarded accidentally. This could mean a password might be leaked by a user that mistakenly forwards the email to their team or the whole company. 
  • Some email servers aren’t secure. Emails are stored plaintext on most email servers, so if a hacker gets access to the server, they can just run a script against the email database and find plaintext passwords. 
  • Emails aren’t always encrypted on the wire (when they are sent from your computer to the SMTP server or between SMTP relays). A simple packet sniffer can intercept emails and be trained to look for plaintext passwords. If you are sending emails from a hosting provider that supports multiple companies (like AWS or Rackspace), a hacker can put a packet sniffer on the same network and read your emails. 
  • Emails aren’t a direct communication. Emails bounce between servers on their way from your outbox to someone’s inbox. Emails are rarely encrypted and therefore might be intercepted as they bounce around and are easily readable by a machine.

Best practices

  1. Strong encryptions. Passwords should always be hashed using a strong, one-way hash algorithm. In addition to using a hashing algorithm, you should also be salting the password and performing multiple hash passes. This will prevent brute force or lookup attacks on passwords. In the event that the user database is compromised, it will still be nearly impossible to reverse engineer a user password from the stored hash. 
  2. Verification ID. Never email a plaintext password. If a user forgets or needs to change their password, send a link (with a random verification ID) that allows the user to securely change their password within a set time period. The company should never know the user’s password. 
  3. Multi-factor authentication. If the above fail and the password has been compromised, using MFA or 2FA keeps the user account secure. Two-factor authentication enhances user login security by requiring something the user knows (password) with something the user possesses (their cellphone for example). 
  4. Password invitations. If you are manually creating user accounts and need users to set their own passwords, avoid sending a random or temporary password via email. Instead send the user an email or push notification allowing them to set the password themselves.

Inversoft is a security company, focusing on identity and user management.  Our product, Passport ships with code based 2FA, brute force login detection, password hashing, forgot password, email templates and more. See our free Guide to User Data Security for more suggestions on Password Security.

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Resources
https://spod.cx/blog/emailing_passwords_bad_idea.shtml
http://plaintextoffenders.com/post/7006690494/whats-so-wrong-about-sending-a-new-password-in

 

Lunch & Learn: Authentication + User Management

Kelly Strain

lunchlearn

Inversoft’s founder and CEO, Brian Pontarelli, will be speaking about Authentication & User Management at WeWork Union Station.

Authentication is perhaps the single most common requirement of any application. Being able to quickly and easily register for or log into a service can make a huge difference for the user experience.

Authentication, authorization and user management are often required from the start. Not only is this time consuming and costly to build, but even a minor mistake can be disastrous. Turnkey user management and authentication providers can help companies focus on core business and application features rather than boilerplate infrastructure.

Brian will walk you through the paramount build vs. buy decision and answer questions along the way.

Details

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Time: 12:00PM – 1:00PM (MST)

Location:

WeWork Union Station

1550 Wewatta St

2nd Floor

Denver, CO

This Lunch & Learn is free to attend and Illegal Pete’s will be provided!

RSVP HERE

We hope to see you there! Please pass along the link to any of your colleagues who might be interested in attending the event as well.

 

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