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  1. Dartmouth Authentication Factors – Why PKI and eTokens are required(Scott Rea)EDUCAUSE PKI Deployment ForumMadison, WI - April 16, 2008

  2. Introduction • Strong Two Factor Authentication is required to protect digital assets as campuses become targets for one of the fastest growing crimes in America – Identity Theft • In response to a security breach four years ago (resulting in 17,000 affiliated individuals having to be notified that their personal data had been potentially compromised), Dartmouth enhanced its production roll out of a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) with eTokens to protect Dartmouth affiliated individuals, their assets, and Dartmouth’s reputation as a premier provider of higher education • Having the forethought to implement a two-factor PKI scheme using a USB form factor smartcard has proven to be a master stroke, as it has kept Dartmouth on the cutting-edge of security technologies while helping to guard our infrastructure against the latest cyber-attacks, in addition to keeping the College out of the headlines for all the wrong reasons. • Dartmouth continues its targeted roll out of PKI and eTokens to enable the protection of critical entities on campus

  3. Contents • Identify theft (one of the fastest growing crimes in America) • Factors of Authentication - Passwords insufficient • Dartmouth’s Password Vulnerabilities • Dartmouth’s Solution to Poor Passwords • Strengthening PKI at Dartmouth with eTokens • Conclusion

  4. Identity Theft Is On the Rise and Campuses Are A Prime Target • Identify theft is one of the fastest growing crime in America • 2004-2005 89% increase • 2005-2006 78% increase • 2006-2007 42% increase • Most data is accessed from stolen computers and laptops or by hackers capturing data on unprotected networks or insufficiently protected servers • NY Times Dec 18, 2006: “…educational institutions have particularly acute problem when it comes to nation's leaky data issue; study by Public Policy Institute for AARP last July, using data compiled by Identity Theft Resource Center, determined that of 90 million records reportedly compromised in various breaches between Jan 1, 2005, and May 26, 2006, 43 percent were at educational institutions.” • carries a running log – of the last 10 incidents listed, 60% were attributed to higher education

  5. Beware the Hackers and Thieves • Dartmouth College: • July 2004 Security Incident • Potential 17,000 Dartmouth affiliates affected • HR staff keeping unencrypted personal data on servers that anyone with a password could access • 8 servers impacted • FBI investigated with assistance from student security researchers in Prof. Sean Smith’s Computer Science group • Network vulnerability assessments (like the one currently underway) on a regular basis were recommended • eTokens now deployed as mandatory requirement for HE staff who require access to this data

  6. How Do We Protect Our Students/Staff/Faculty • While debate continues on what type of technology is best suited to prevent identity theft, many experts believe that a combination of PKI infrastructure and two-factor authentication offers the greatest promise of protection. Source: Financial Services Technology, Preventing Identity Theft

  7. Authentication Factors • Three Factors of Authentication: • Something you know • e.g. password, secret, URI, graphic • Something you have • e.g. key, token, smartcard, badge • Something you are • e.g. fingerprint, iris scan, face scan, signature

  8. Authentication Factors • Single Factor of Authentication is most common • Passwords (something you know) are the most common single factor • At least Two Factor Authentication is recommended for securing important assets • e.g. ATM card + PIN (have + know) • 2 x Single Factor Authentication ≠ Two Factor Authentication • e.g. Password + Graphic is NOT equivalent to Smartcard + PIN (although it may be better than a single instance of One Factor Authentication) • Without Two Factor Authentication, some secure communications may be vulnerable to disclosure • Especially in wireless networks

  9. Password Authentication • General issues with Authentication using Password technology • Passwords easily shared with others (in violation of access policy) • Easily captured over a network if no encrypted channel used • Vulnerable to dictionary attacks even if encrypted channels are used • Weak passwords can be guessed or brute forced offline • Vulnerable to keyboard sniffing/logging attacks on public or compromised systems • Cannot provide non-repudiation since they generally require that the user be enrolled at the service provider, and so the service provider also knows the user's password • Vulnerable to Social Engineering attacks • Single factor of Authentication only

  10. Password Authentication • Definition of a Weak Password • The password contains less than eight characters • The password is a word found in a dictionary (English or foreign) • The password is a common usage word such as: • Names of family, pets, friends, co-workers, fantasy characters, etc. • Computer terms and names, commands, sites, companies, hardware, software. • Words using the company name or any derivation. • Birthdays and other personal information such as addresses and phone numbers. • Word or number patterns like aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts, 123321, etc. • Any of the above spelled backwards. • Any of the above preceded or followed by a digit (e.g., secret1, 1secret)

  11. Password Authentication • Definition of a Strong Password • Contain both upper and lower case characters (e.g., a-z, A-Z) • Have digits and punctuation characters as well as letters (e.g., 0-9, !@#$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:”;’<>?,./) • Are greater than eight alphanumeric characters long. • Are not a word in any language, slang, dialect, jargon, etc. • Are not based on personal information, names of family, etc. • Passwords should never be written down or stored on-line without encryption protection.

  12. Password Authentication • Specific issues with Authentication using Password technology • Too many passwords to remember if requiring a different one for each application • Leads to users writing them down and not storing them securely • Leads to use of insecure or weak passwords (more secure ones are generally harder to remember) • Leads to higher helpdesk costs due to resetting of forgotten passwords. • Leads to re-use of passwords outside the campus domain where protection mechanisms may be much lower

  13. Password Authentication • Specific issues with Authentication using Password technology • Potential single point of failure for multiple applications if same password used • Strong passwords not consistently supported in all applications • Weak passwords leads to widespread compromises • Passwords not consistently protected for all applications • Password expiration not synchronized across applications • Limited character set for input • No control over use of passwords outside the campus domain • Offline attacks against passwords may be possible

  14. Passwords at Dartmouth • Dartmouth’s Password vulnerabilities • All Kerberos/SideCar enabled applications restrict password length to 8 characters (barely reaching the “strong” minimum length) • Blitzmail only uses first 8 characters of a password • Older Blitzmail accounts do not even have this minimum protection, e.g. some 3-4 character passwords still exist • No policy for password rotation enforced • No policy for password authentication attempts enforced • Lots of different systems with different password requirements • No consistency – a password policy with enforcement is required

  15. Passwords at Dartmouth • Dartmouth’s Password vulnerabilities • Passwords are written down and not encrypted • Passwords are happily entered into any authentic looking login page • The WebAuth effort is aimed at mitigating this risk for DND password based authentication, • The PKI authentication option for WebAuth eliminates it • Pervasive wireless network makes it easier to grab passwords sent in the clear (and they are) • Encrypted channels with weak passwords are able to be attacked offline

  16. Dartmouth’s Solution • Dartmouth’s Solution to Password vulnerabilities -Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) • PKI consists of a key pair – 1 public, stored in a certificate, 1 private, stored in a protected file or smartcard • Allows exchange of session secrets in a protected (encrypted) manner without disclosing private key • PKI lets users authenticate without giving their passwords away to the service that needs to authenticate them • Our own password-hunting experiences, written up in EDUCAUSE Quarterly, shows that users happily type their user ID and password into any reasonable-looking web site, because so many of them require it already. • PKI can be a very effective measure against phishing

  17. Dartmouth’s Solution • Dartmouth’s Solution to Password vulnerabilities -Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) • PKI lets users directly authenticate across domains • Researchers can collaborate more easily • Students can easily access materials from other institutions providing broader educational opportunities • PKI allows decentralized handling of authorization • Students on a project can get access to a web site or some other resource because Prof Smith delegated it to them • PKI simplifies this process – no need for a centralized bureaucracy, lowers overheads associated with research • Private key is never sent across the wire so cannot be compromised by sniffing • Not vulnerable to dictionary attacks • Brute force is not practical for given key lengths • Facilitates encryption of sensitive data to protect it even if a data stream or source is captured by a malicious entity

  18. Dartmouth’s Solution • Dartmouth’s Solution to Password vulnerabilities -Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) • 1024-bit keys are better than 128 character passwords (they are not subject to a limited character input set) • This is far stronger than our current Blitzmail or DND password based authentication • As one researcher said recently “the Sun will burn out before we break these” Quote from Prof Smith: “In the long run: user authentication and authorization in the broader information infrastructure is a widely recognized grand challenge. The best bet will likely be some combination of PKI and user tokens.” • Failing to look ahead in our IT choices means failing in our research and educational mission.

  19. Dartmouth’s Solution • Dartmouth’s Solution to Password vulnerabilities -Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) • Browsers now have better support for PKI, making it very useable for everyday users • Vendors recognize the importance of this technology to securing digital assets • The ubiquitous browser interface can now be a tool for secure and confidential communications • Dartmouth no longer needs to be concerned with maintaining bolt-on security mechanisms like SideCar which has Kerberos version compatibility issues, open port through firewall issues etc. etc. • Critical educational applications like Banner and Blackboard can now be securely access via PKI right from any browser

  20. PKI at Dartmouth • Dartmouth’s PKI History • Dartmouth has run a production Certificate Authority on campus for 5+ years (dev/pilot 3 years prior to that) • There are currently over 20,000 active certificates in circulation, issued by the Dartmouth CA • The default for WebAuth authentication on the Dartmouth campus is PKI • Dartmouth facilitates Two Factor Authentication through PKI and Aladdin eTokens • Distribution of over 3,500 eTokens to Faculty, Staff, and Students on campus • eToken distribution to Freshmen for past four years

  21. Strengthening PKI at Dartmouth • Standard PKI is single factor authentication – it is something you have (a private key) • Storing the private key in a secure place and protecting access to it with a passphrase creates Two Factor Authentication • (i.e. private key [something you have] and passphrase [something you know]) • But storing a private key in software ONLY means it can be copied to many places – some of which may not be secure – potentially reducing this to single factor only (the passphrase protecting the private key) and also making it vulnerable to offline attacks • Storing the key in a FIPS-140 authenticated PKI hardware module ensures the private key only has a single instance - But a single instance can be restricting unless it is very portable

  22. Strengthening PKI at Dartmouth • Smartcards or USB Tokens are very portable hardware options. The USB Token is usually favored over smartcards due to the additional cost of the latter option requiring readers everywhere the card is to be used (USB is mostly ubiquitous) • Dartmouth chose Aladdin eToken as its partner for PKI hardware modules after an evaluation of available products utilized for this purpose • Aladdin eToken is a house key sized HSM that protects PKI keys and can also perform other information security functions • Dartmouth began rolling out to freshmen 4 years ago, also targeted faculty and staff are required to carry them for compliance (FERPA, HIPAA) reasons

  23. Strengthening PKI at Dartmouth • Dartmouth started with 16K version eToken Pro, then 32K models – now moving to 64K version that allows for stronger key sizes, and trialing 72K Java OS version • Aladdin also has combination devices that contain a standard flash memory chip (like a standards thumb drive) as well as the cryptography chip (delivering 2-for-1 functionality) • Aladdin provides drivers for the eToken for the operating systems supported on the Dartmouth Campus – Windows, Linux, Mac OSX • By spring 2008, all freshmen will have had a chance to obtain an eToken with a certificate and Dartmouth can start requiring Two Factor Authentication for applications with sensitive data (PKI is optional right now)

  24. Summary • Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the US still, Institutions of Higher Education are a prime target - 29% of this activity results from Campus compromises • Dartmouth has already had a security breach (17,000 people potentially impacted in 2004) • Protecting sensitive data with passwords is no longer sufficient – Two Factor Authentication is recommended • Passwords by nature are vulnerable to many different easily replicable attacks • No consistency in policy and implementation, allowing exploits for weak, reused, unmonitored passwords • Dartmouth has been implementing PKI and eTokens as the replacement authentication mechanism to passwords since 2003 • Aladdin eTokens combined with PKI provide bullet-proof Two Factor protection • Browsers now have better support for PKI, making it very useable for everyday users as vendors recognize the importance of this technology to securing digital assets

  25. Summary • James E. Wright, President of Dartmouth College has publicly endorsed and promoted the PKI project. In reference to this project he stated: “We need to be careful that we do not stray from the basic principles of access and openness that John Kemeny articulated and that the academy embraced so many years ago. Colleges and universities are not, by definition, secretive places. They thrive on the free exchange of ideas and on open debate. But nor can we afford to be Pollyannaish about the real changes that have occurred in the digital world in which we live and learn. Thus we must strive for a sensitive balance between openness and security, between access and control. We need both. …Public key systems enable parties to engage in the trusted exchange of information even if they have never met and share no secrets beforehand.” • Dartmouth, by making eTokens available to incoming freshmen, is almost complete with its roll out for all students. • Faculty and Staff who access sensitive information are required to use 2-factor authentication via use of Aladdin eTokens • Failing to look ahead in our IT choices means failing in our research and educational mission. EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 37, no. 5

  26. Questions? For More Information… Scott Rea -