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Privacy Security Communications The Internet Technology

Ask Slashdot: Is Password Masking On Its Way Out? 234

New submitter thegreatbob writes: Perhaps you've noticed in the last 5 years or so, progressively more entities have been providing the ability to reveal the contents of a password field. While this ability is, in many cases (especially on devices with lousy keyboards), legitimately useful, it does seem to be a reasonable source of concern. Fast forward to today; I was setting up a new router (cheapest dual-band router money can, from Tenda) and I was almost horrified to discover that it does not mask any of its passwords by default. So I ask Slashdot: is password masking really on its way out, and does password masking do anything beyond preventing the casual shoulder-surfer?
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Ask Slashdot: Is Password Masking On Its Way Out?

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  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:13PM (#54835985)

    "does password masking do anything beyond preventing the casual shoulder-surfer?"

    Erm...that is precisely ALL it has ever done?! What else do you think it does?
    Frankly, most password boxes should have a 'show' password option because its user friendly -- put the user in charge of whether or not the password is visible -- they can decide the risk of exposure.

    Although i do think showing it by default is a bit absurd. On the other hand, with a new router out of the box; the default password is a known quanity or on the labelling anyway... so not a lot of harm exposing it there.

    • by Matt.Battey ( 1741550 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:25PM (#54836039)

      Even for those web sites that don't have the feature it's the top three browsers (Chrome, Firefox, and IE) will all let you see any saved passwords by just inspecting the fields DOM properties...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:27PM (#54836055)

      You are correct on all points, and I completely agree with your opinion based points too.

      Originally password masking was purely to prevent shoulder surfing.
      Today it remains simply because it is expected behavior. And the default should remain masked for this very reason.
      But there is little harm with a button or whatever to display it for the times that is acceptable to do.

      There are still many situations you would both expect and need password masking on, and defaulting to not masked can only cause accidents that don't need to happen.

      Think conference rooms when the display is mirrored to a big screen or projector.
      Or remote support sessions where one may need to enter elevated rights credentials to do something for a user you don't want them doing themselves.
      Or the times you do not know how high traffic the area behind you is, or you have unfortunately little control over desk/workbench layout and orientation.

      Even if the area behind you is 99% of the time traffic free, that would still be three times a year where it is not traffic free.

      Not everyone is so lucky to have an office with a desk they can position such that the doorway opens to the front of the desk and you have no windows at ground level behind you.
      Long workbench setups are almost always mounted against the walls which would demand your back is to the door and the monitor pretty much facing towards the door as well.

      Even intentionally entering a password in front of others can be safer when masked (such as the conference room situation above), and any accidental exposure of part of a password being entered not expecting masking to be missing would dictate changing your password immediately, except now you are on a system you can't even trust to not show your new password while changing it!

      But the ability to turn masking off when unneeded or when it's a hindrance is also a good thing IMHO.
      My random character passwords tend to become muscle memory after a short time, and a bit more time afterwards I quite literally forget what the password is and only retain the ability to type it.
      Move me to a mobile phone onscreen keyboard where all the symbols and even numbers don't match a querty layout, and I have a significant mental whiplash moment while trying to mentally "type" it and watch what keys my imaginary fingers are pressing.
      Autocomplete/autocorrect fucking with me in a way I can't even see before submitting the (likely incorrect) password is just additional salt in the wound.
      Mix in a decent or overly strict bad-password-attempt lockout policy and you can rightly screw yourself.

      So by all means include an unmask feature, but for the sake of cthulhu and all that is holy, leave masking as the default.

      • Exactly this point! (Score:4, Informative)

        by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @09:51PM (#54836687)

        TFA seems to believe that since they can't think of a purpose for masking, and that a single (in their words "cheapest money can" [I assume they meant] "buy") home router doesn't use masking, that it must be the end of a field that's been in HTML for as long as HTML has had a standard.. Training sessions, remote support sessions, documentation, and yes preventing shoulder surfing are all reasons that the password field type will probably never go away.

        • These were (limited) datapoints meant to suggest that there is indeed a trend, in the interest of keeping the submission within the attention spam of the average fellow. Just an example to show the extreme end of the scale. I can think of a fair number of purposes for masking, but have always assumed that prevention of casual shoulder surfing is indeed the primary goal. Good catch on "buy", I even proof-read that several times.
      • by skids ( 119237 )

        My random character passwords tend to become muscle memory after a short time, and a bit more time afterwards I quite literally forget what the password is and only retain the ability to type it.

        On man I've been there for sure. Even had one time when I was really tired and absolutely could not log into a box from a 19" rackmount KVM console... had to switch to a real keyboard.

      • by Zebai ( 979227 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @02:06AM (#54837529)

        I love websites and programs that give me the choice to unmask however I'm seeing more and more masking when its NOT necessary to do even for non password related fields.

        At my work they seem to think masking makes things ultra secure for all important data items. Fields that require you to input credit card numbers, cell phone numbers, all sorts of data are now masked on the pretense that it makes things more secure. It does not, over shoulder watching is not even an issue, this is a work application accessible via intranet only the only people who can see it already have permission to do so they don't even need to be sneaky by hiding behind me it is a secure workplace after all. Bit of a rant here I'm just a bit peeved as I now have to type into a very unsecured notepad just to make sure my data is accurate before submitting.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually in the days of the old CRT it was possible to pick up using an antenna and repoduce the display contents from a mile away. (you need a directional antenna aimed at the source well depending on range.) So the casual shoulder-surfer could be the NSA operative a mile away.
      Not sure how easy it is for LCDs to do the same.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Tempest would pick up RF from wherever it was leaking: the CRT, the cable (particularly if not properly shielded), even the video card. So in principle it won't matter if you're using CRT, LCD, or even if you physically switch off and/or detach* the monitor - so long as the signal is being generated it may be radiated. What I suspect will make a big difference is whether you're using VGA or HDMI. VGA has a distinct "signature" - waveforms repeat predictably, sync signals are regular, blanking etc very an

      • Tempest attacks are still feasible with modern displays. One of my colleagues does a demo of them at open days. They're also far from the only side channel available. There's a lot of recent work on acoustic side channels. With a modern Android device, any background process that can access the microphones can pick up what you're typing with high accuracy (the iPhone microphones are good enough, but Apple doesn't expose APIs that permit this). Vibration provides similar info and combining the two gives

    • Yes! I have thought the same thing for years.

    • Routers have typically behaved like this: only the admin password is masked while logging in, but when one is in the Password page, one gets to type - and see - the password that's set. I've never understood why. What you are describing is if one goes to the preferences page of the browser - where one can check the passwords if one has forgotten (happened w/ me many times)

    • by skids ( 119237 )

      Do note that under some more advanced security models, the box doesn't store your password, but rather cryptographic derivative of it, and as such should not be able to show the password except on the page where it is originally being entered.

      Some specifications actually demand this, like SNMPv3 USM, though a lot of vendors just ignore the spec and store the cleartext password anyway.

      Anyway as to the OP I think you nailed it on the head: masking is on the way out due to consumers choosing devices with crumm

      • Do note that under some more advanced security models, the box doesn't store your password, but rather cryptographic derivative of it, and as such should not be able to show the password except on the page where it is originally being entered.

        It is insane that there are any devices (or other systems) that don't behave this way.

        I recently even did a "lost password recovery" for a website I visit, and they actually sent me my password. In any reasonably secure system, whether it's your local router hardware or website or whatever, this should not be possible.

    • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @10:56PM (#54837019) Homepage

      At least on Windows, password masked text boxes also prevent copying of the contents of the box to the clipboard. This prevents someone from using a Back button to return to a logon screen to find out what password was typed there.

      • by Highdude702 ( 4456913 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @04:58AM (#54837857)

        I have personally never seen a browser that once you go past the page and go back still has the password in the form box. And on most items like programs they just don't allow copy on right click, you can however ctrl+c and still copy from the masked password box. But as I said not after the submit form button has been pushed

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          In Chrome if you set it to remember passwords it will fill in the password field for you. Okay, someone accessing your machine can log in as you, but they can't actually find out what your password was because to reveal it they also need your OS account password. The "view password" feature in Chrome prompts for it.

          I'll admit that this is a fairly weak layer of security, but it's still worth having in place.

        • Jenkins is an example of a Web application that pre-fills your saved password in a masked box. That "feature" annoys me every time I go to the login page. But no, Ctrl+C does not work on a masked password field, whether in a Web page or in a desktop application, at least not in Windows. The browser doesn't have to implement this, this is an OS-level feature.

    • This is the real question. Why do people still run software from router vendors, which is usually insanely out of date and often has poorly designed security models, even disregarding this particular issue?

      I agree with you that it's user friendly to be able to see the password, but then again why do people have legible passwords anyway? Why is the router asking for a password? It should really be using public-key encryption and/or shared secrets, which are never seen by the user. And really I think t

      • Unfortunately the vast majority of people that buy consumer routers would t be able to flash a custom firmware on to them if they even knew they existed. As far as power users which is the majority of slashdot(or used to be) that is normally a simple task and done immediately after purchase of a consumer router. Which is why when people ask me what router they should buy I always point them towards buffalo routers as most of their models have a custom dd-wrt firmware and can be easily web flashed with a ful

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Why do people still run software from router vendors

        To save the cost of buying a majority of shares in the router vendor in order to acquire its cryptographic code signing key and access to a relinkable version of the binary blob drivers required by its chipset. And that's assuming the router vendor's stock is even publicly traded. Or, less flippantly, to save the cost of replacing the router whose cryptographic code signing key and chipset driver source code are not available to end users with one whose are.

        In addition, to save the cost of having to registe

    • What about saved passwords in your browser?
    • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

      "does password masking do anything beyond preventing the casual shoulder-surfer?"

      Erm...that is precisely ALL it has ever done?! What else do you think it does?

      Back in the good ol days of Back Orifice and fast and wild rootkits and viruses there were a bunch of them that would take screen shots.

      Most also did keylogging. So there were probably a few cases where unmasking a password put the user at worse risk, but throughout 99% of use over time, the casual shoulder surfer is the only real threat. (Hey, if you get infected, you got all sorts of problems and that little dot over your password isn't significant.)

    • my password is 8 big dots.

  • Sure. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:13PM (#54835987)
    " is password masking really on its way out, and does password masking do anything beyond preventing the casual shoulder-surfer?"

    It makes it much more likely to make a typo and have to try again.
  • No, it's not. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon ( 1483695 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:17PM (#54836015)

    The only interesting thing here is that you discovered a cheapo home device that doesn't mask passwords, fortunately in a situation (i.e. at home) when shoulder surfing is a non-issue anyway.

    Come back when you've got more than one data point, eh?

    • Tenda is the cheapest network equipment provider on the market. Even sales employees at MicroCenter say "You don't want that one".
    • I may do just that; only one extreme example was included because it was the only one I had directly experienced in modern hardware, and I wanted to keep the submission away from TL;DR territory.
  • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:20PM (#54836021)
    My favorite is trying to enter 15 character randomized passwords into a "force mask" field. The algorithm always seems to pick confusing characters like `'|][;: I often have no idea if I'm even attempting to enter the correct password, let alone if all the rando miscreant characters were entered as intended.
    • Re:Masquerade (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Vlijmen Fileer ( 120268 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:25PM (#54836041)

      Which is why you then resort to first typing it in an editor, defeating the purpose of the masking, to subsequently copy it to the password field.

      Except of course when the programmer of the password field was such an intolerable and incompetent turd that she disabled pasting into the field; that unfortunately also happens.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Desler ( 1608317 )

        And those same idiots also have a "confirm email" field that also disallows pasting. Even moreso than the password field, that one makes no sense.

        • Re:Masquerade (Score:5, Informative)

          by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @11:30PM (#54837137) Journal

          I ran into a worse problem recently.

          The website runs some javascript on the entered email address, which prompts a server somewhere to attempt to validate the email address. The attempt is achieved by beginning an smtp transaction to the MX host for the domain name.

          Now, combine this with postgrey: the mail server sends back a temporary failure, which the server stupidly interprets as the email address not being valid.

          The stupidity of this whole setup is monumental. Not least because exchange servers will accept emails for non-existent addresses in its default configuration.

      • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:45PM (#54836147)
        "subsequently copy it to the password field."

        I use control-v as a special character in my passwords, you insensitive clod.
        • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

          My password consists of eight asterisks, so there!

          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            One April 1, I changed a web form at work so it would echo back SWORDFISH one letter at a time as the user typed in the password. Not a single one spotted the reference, and one lady complained that she couldn't log in.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Not a single one spotted the reference

              I had no idea wtf you were talking about, so I googled it, and it's from a 1930s Marx brothers movie.
              Of course nobody got the reference. I would guess 1% of people actually saw that at some point in their life, and maybe 1% of them would remember it.

              It also looks like Terry Pratchett referenced it once in some book I've never heard of, and neither has anyone in your office.

              • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                You should stop googling things.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
                Check out the "Uses in other works" section, which is rather long. It seems strange if nobody have encountered enough of these uses of swordfish as a password to make a connection. It's a running gag up there with Acme Corporation and the Wilhelm scream.

    • Assuming the site/application/whatever supports it, you could go with a longer password and restrict it to the Base32 [wikipedia.org] character set. For me, the best reason to use it is:

      The alphabet can be selected to avoid similar-looking pairs of different symbols, so the strings can be accurately transcribed by hand. (For example, the RFC 4648 symbol set omits the digits for one, eight and zero, since they could be confused with the letters 'I', 'B', and 'O'.)

      It makes it very nice when dealing storing passwords in such a way that the presentation font makes some of the characters confusing or when having to tell someone the password over the phone.

    • Re:Masquerade (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thegrassyknowl ( 762218 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:34PM (#54836089)

      My favorite is trying to enter 15 character randomized passwords into a "force mask" field.

      My favourite is entering a 24 character randomised password into websites/software where the retarded morons designing it felt they knew better than me and blocked/intercepted paste. Or, almost as bad, websites/software that relies on keypress events to cause their processing to do something with my password. ReviewBoard does this with its comments fields - if I paste from a pre-prepared note it is unaware that I've edited the comment field.

      The algorithm always seems to pick confusing characters like `'|][;: I often have no idea if I'm even attempting to enter the correct password, let alone if all the rando miscreant characters were entered as intended.

      If you use KeePass you can configure it to not use so many confusing characters. Sometimes you run into places where the moron designer thought that only alphanumeric characters make valid password characters.

      • Re:Masquerade (Score:4, Informative)

        by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @08:30PM (#54836355) Homepage

        If you use KeePass you can configure it to not use so many confusing characters. Sometimes you run into places where the moron designer thought that only alphanumeric characters make valid password characters.

        If you go outside ASCII and depend on the keyboard mapping there's been an annoyingly high number of bugs perpetrated by developers who only use the US/English keyboard. Particularly if you rely on this early in the boot process, like you want to unlock your BitLocker/TrueCrypt/LUKS partition with a password or make some kind of single-sign on solution that won't fail when one of the applications has been made by 'tards. And I say that as a Norwegian where our alphabet has 29 letters but for any technical purpose æøå doesn't exist in my book. It's not worth the pain of crappy US-centric software.

        • by Mal-2 ( 675116 )

          So you're the one who wrote that ÆØÅ "Size Matters" song. Sorry, you deserve it just for that. /s

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          By default Bitlocker only allows you to use a PIN number for pre-boot authentication. Reason being that the only keys on a keyboard that are guaranteed to be the same on every layout are the special function keys (F1...F10). You can disable that restriction via group policy.

      • by Pieroxy ( 222434 )

        My favorite is trying to enter 15 character randomized passwords into a "force mask" field.

        My favourite is entering a 24 character randomised password into websites/software where the retarded morons designing it felt they knew better than me and blocked/intercepted paste.

        Drag and Drop is one sure way to defeat poorly-coded-paste-prevention input fields. It's as easy to make it inoperable but nobody thought of that one in the afflicted websites I've tried so far.

      • Sometimes you run into places where the moron designer thought that only alphanumeric characters make valid password characters.

        ...and its cousin, the "I don't know what characters are actually valid in email addresses, so let's just restrict that to alphanumeric too."

        Several websites don't allow special characters in the local part of email addresses, despite them being perfectly valid, which prevents me from using the myname+yourshittywebsite@gmail.com method of filtering.

  • Kids... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zm ( 257549 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:20PM (#54836025) Homepage

    No, it is not going away, because it is more than just shoulder surfers that look at your screen. For example when you need to login while projecting the screen in a conference room, or sharing it during an online meeting. Now, get off my lawn. Please.

    • Re:Kids... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:27PM (#54836053) Homepage

      This is why I never connect to a projector with the screen duplicated - always extended.

      • This is why I never connect to a projector with the screen duplicated - always extended.

        Slightly OT, but there are other good reasons not to clone the display:

        • * Using different native resolutions on both displays. Or at least if you clone it, make sure the projector uses its best/native resolution.
        • * Things you should see but the audience should not, such as
          • - Time code in a video (for pausing at given times, etc.)
          • - Name of image file shown. I often use GQview with the fullscreen window on the projector, so I can keep using the file browser on the laptop.
      • Agreed. Even the password change dialogue can be incriminating. Two true stories from school:

        Maths teacher is observed entering five character password.

        "Sir, is your password 'maths'?"

        "No."

        Ten minutes later, maths teacher is observed changing password. Similarly:

        Football-fan teacher with prominent Aston Villa FC wallpaper is observed entering four character password.

        "Sir, is your password 'avfc'?"

        "No."

        Later, teacher is observed changing password.

  • I've only known a few IT guys who were great typist.

    There's not a decent-quality password today that can be reliably typed by somebody who is not a great typist. If you are not masking, users will use better passwords. That's all.

    • by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:43PM (#54836131)

      "correct horse battery staple" would like to disagree with you. The reality is that putting in special characters, mixed case, and numbers doesn't do nearly as much to increase password complexity compared to simply making them longer. For the network I operate, I now just have a policy of a minimum of 12 characters. I tell my users to make up a silly little rhyme or ditty that they can remember, and use that as their password. Easy to remember, hard to crack, and easy to type.

  • Are we talking about web sites that use type="text" rather than type="password"? If so, then no, never ever ever is that appropriate for a password of any kind.

    If we're talking about the UI of an app (either the browser or otherwise) giving the user an option for whether or not to mask, then that's a different discussion.

    • by skids ( 119237 )

      It wouldn't surprise me. Hrm... the number of autocomplete form fields containing passwords in the average desktop browser over time would be an interesting stat chart, were there a way to collect it.

    • by jafiwam ( 310805 )

      Are we talking about web sites that use type="text" rather than type="password"? If so, then no, never ever ever is that appropriate for a password of any kind.

      If we're talking about the UI of an app (either the browser or otherwise) giving the user an option for whether or not to mask, then that's a different discussion.

      Now this makes me wonder if I could change the style properties of HTML locally in my browser to turn off the masking on type="password".

  • Lots of app developers here but how many people here are doing OS/Device/Resource human interaction specifications?

  • Maybe a better question is, are passwords on their way out with inexpensive and reliable fingerprint scanners being standard on many devices and other ones having the user unlock them with a user-defined zig-zag pattern leading up to iris and facial recognition technologies. Maybe there are brain wave patterns that are unique to a user (let's see the NSA hack that).

    If anything, I would expect secure logins to become easier for the responsible person to gain access easier while doing a better job of verifyi

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Fingerprints are not passwords. They are a what-you-are authentication factor. Passwords are a what-you-know.

      It means that fingerprints can only be used to tell that the one operating the device with the scanner is you. They can't be used directly for remote authentication, because they are not secret.

    • No fingerprint scanner has ever worked reliably on my fingers. That includes the police scanners for my teacher's license and the immigration scanners for my Global Entry. And I would rather use a password anyway.
    • by skids ( 119237 )

      If your computer can scan it to let you in, someone else's computer can scan it to let them take a copy.

  • ... ring a bell with any of you out there?

    If so, reply with the name of the supplier.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <(markt) (at) (nerdflat.com)> on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @07:45PM (#54836145) Journal

    Make it a bunch of asterisks.

    Done.

  • If you get a password field on a web page the browser will display various scary looking messages depending of the security of the page.

    Generally if its a local network page with an IP address (most router interfaces) having the password field will have the browser alert you the page is "Not Secure" of the address bar. If its a self signed certificate (which ads encryption between you and the browser, the message is even scarier with red fields or strikethroughs as a spoofed certificate COULD be playing a man in the middle confidence scheme. Only ones that get through this is devices that have set up proper certification.

    So the easiest way to avoid a lot of the scary "not secure" address bar messages, is just do the login in plain text.

  • Yes it is only for a shoulder surfer. honestly if you want people to use complex passwords you have to show them the freaking string as they type
    ASDq3fwtevybtynsR&56@%^25tqer7gRT*Ubt&tferyweF
    for their password

    • honestly if you want people to use complex passwords you have to show them the freaking string as they type
      ASDq3fwtevybtynsR&56@%^25tqer7gRT*Ubt&tferyweF
      for their password

      Dammit, how did you get my password?

  • First of all, see "Stop Password Masking" at https://www.nngroup.com/articl... [nngroup.com]. The author, Jakob Nielsen, is supposedly an expert on human-computer interfaces.

    The PGP encryption application likely has the best implementation. When entering a pass-phrase (more complex than a mere password), there is a checkbox to expose what is entered. When starting the application, the default is always to have the checkbox cleared, which means hide the pass-phrase.

  • Allowing the password to be revealed is an unwanted security risks to some parano- er... cautious folk and corporations. For one, it means that the password could be picked up by a larger portion of malware, e.g. screen grabbers and rogue browser extensions that are allowed to read the DOM.

    Second, it means that the password isn't hashed, but either encrypted or stored in plain text somewhere on disk. A hashed password (with a random salt, to thwart rainbow tables) is generally harder to reverse than an encr

  • Thats a principle I've worked with for years.

    You don't want others to know your passwords, you shouldn't tell people your passwords. (well most classes of passwords I work with).

    A simple trick I've used over the years is to make passwords something I would definitely never want anyone to see me type in, something offensive, rude or even (apparently) incriminating ("Yes, it was me who killed your dog" or "I fuck ponies").

    This also helps me remember them.

    God forbid I run into a situation where my passwords a

    • Once, I was working on a system that had restrictive password rules, and didn't state what those rules were. I kept getting "invalid password" when I tried to change it. The one it finally accepted was not anything I'd want to state in polite company, or even impolite company.

  • Unless you also mask the keyboard, an observant, practice person can tell what your password is by looking at your fingers type.

    But that is irrelevant. If someone wants to steal your password, the most common techniques are a key-logger and social engineering.

    No one shoulder surfs. I

  • I pick up the occasional used router and noticed it was pretty easy to recover the SSID, WPA2 password, and the admin password.

    I did a presentation on this last month and it was well received. We got used routers from the local thrift store or electronics recycle, opened it up and hooked up to the UART serial console. Most of them boot you to a command prompt with no password. Then you can run "nvram show | grep pass" or wpa or admin and you will get the prior owner's SSID, and passwords.

    There is a good

  • hunter2 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2017 @12:08AM (#54837233)
    <Cthon98> hey, if you type in your pw, it will show as stars
    <Cthon98> ********* see!
    <AzureDiamond> hunter2
    <AzureDiamond> doesnt look like stars to me
    <Cthon98> <AzureDiamond> *******
    <Cthon98> thats what I see
    <AzureDiamond> oh, really?
    <Cthon98> Absolutely
    <AzureDiamond> you can go hunter2 my hunter2-ing hunter2
    <AzureDiamond> haha, does that look funny to you?
    <Cthon98> lol, yes. See, when YOU type hunter2, it shows to us as *******
    <AzureDiamond> thats neat, I didnt know IRC did that
    <Cthon98> yep, no matter how many times you type hunter2, it will show to us as *******
    <AzureDiamond> awesome!
    <AzureDiamond> wait, how do you know my pw?
    <Cthon98> er, I just copy pasted YOUR ******'s and it appears to YOU as hunter2 cause its your pw
    <AzureDiamond> oh, ok.
  • Somebody sits down at your computer and wants to find your login for something. They go to the site, your password gets filled in by the browser and.... Nothing, because it's masked.
  • Shoulder surfers can watch the keyboard, so masking often provides a false sense of security.

    It is best for the user to feel "exposed" and take other precautions to prevent people seeing them type, especially for rare operations like setting the password where needing to see potential typos is an issue.

  • Especially for mobile. It serves very little purpose.

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