Connecting to LinkedIn...



Insecure Password Storage Is One Of Eight IT Vulnerabilities

19/05/2014 by


The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has stated in a new report that companies failing to adequately protect their passwords is just one of eight information security vulnerabilities that modern firms face. The 47-page document recommends that passwords are processed via ‘salting’ or ‘hashing’ to ensure they are better protected, and that a security update policy is applied.

Talking about the options when developing company passwords, the ICO revealed that using a hash function provides a one-way method of changing any password into a hashed value. When passwords are first set up, the initial hash value is stored. On subsequent entries of the password, the hash is recalculated and compared to the initial value, allowing users to be authenticated if the hashes match. The benefit of this method is that even if hackers gain a list of the stored hashes, they cannot directly work out the passwords; however, the watchdog explained that once hackers have a hash value, there is nothing to stop them guessing the password. This is why the method of salting is then required.

“A ‘salt’…is a string of random data unique to each user,” the ICO explained. “The salt is used by combining it with the user’s password, then hashing the result. The salt is then generally stored alongside the hash in a database. When a user logs in to the service, the stored salt and the supplied password are freshly combined and hashed. As in the unsalted method, the new hash and the stored hash are compared to determine if the user should be authenticated.” The ICO added that although hackers could get a list of salts and hashes, having to crack both prolongs the time it takes them to break the passcodes, enabling companies to take action if they know they have become vulnerable.

In addition to highlighting the password issue, the the ICO’s report also outlined the need for companies to invest in well-designed security architecture. Included in its suggestions were the use of external-facing and internal-facing systems to provide increased data security; in addition, security updates should be made as quickly as possible and all firms should have a clear software update policy in place.

With many companies around the world fearing a cyber-attack, it is important to take stock of IT systems and ensure that precautions are in place. With many people’s passwords not sufficiently protected, this is an area that businesses must focus on.

Written by Montash.

Montash is a multi-award winning, global IT recruitment firm. Specialising in permanent and contract positions across mid-senior appointments which cover a wide range of industry sectors and IT functions, including:

ERP, BI & Data, Information Security, IT Architecture & Strategy, Scientific Technologies, Demand IT and Business Engagement, Digital and E-commerce, Infrastructure and Service Delivery, Project and Programme Delivery.

With offices based in London, Montash has completed assignments in over 30 countries and has appointed technical professionals from board level to senior and mid-management in permanent and contract roles.

comments powered by Disqus

Social Stream

Latest News


In Her Shoes... From Market Stall to Recruitment

2017-08-14 14:00:00 +0100

From the melee of the market stall to placing candidates in high-flying IT roles, life's always on the up from market-trader-turned-recruiter, Lois Hinken (22). She took the time to talk to us about how her experience in the cut throat world of the market has helped her in the world of global talent acquisition. As a 360 recruitment consultant for Montash, her negotiation skills and "go get it" attitude have helped her thrive. "I started working on the ...


Will AI Cost Us Our Humanity?

2017-08-07 15:00:00 +0100

As technology evolves, artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly mainstream, and it will inevitably start to impact the way we interact. On the one hand, AI has the potential to solve a variety of problems and streamline our lives and our work. But will this come at the cost of the all-important human touch? A foreshadowing statistic claims that by 2020, 85% of client interactions will be managed without a human[1]. But can there really be an alg...