Thursday, August 19, 2010

Intellipass - A behavior based password lockout mechanism

I am pleased to announce Intellipass (a behavior based password lockout mechanism). Most of the password lockout mechanism today are static, which means, they lock a user out after a certain number of incorrect password attempts. This feature is implemented to prevent brute force attempts against the login functionality. Even though this feature does what it’s supposed to, it has its own shortcomings too.
From a security point of view, this feature can be abused by a bad guy to lock most or all of the users by writing a script with all the possible permutations and combinations for a username (which are mostly alphabets, if not alphanumerical), resulting in a denial of service.
From usability point of view, there is always a debate as to the number of attempts to be allowed before locking a user account. Most websites allow 3 attempts while some (very few) allow 5 or sometimes 7. What is the right number for this feature is a subject of debate or at least a different blog post. However, It is a big inconvenience for the user if he is locked out.

Till now, there is no other option but to implement a static password lockout mechanism, which has become a de-facto standard for almost every website. Intellipass tries to bridge the gap between the security and the usability aspect of this feature. By storing every login attempt of a user, Intellipass can intelligently understand user’s past behavior and act accordingly. For ex. If a user locks himself out every time, then Intellipass will dynamically increase the number of attempts from 3 to 5 or from 5 to 7. On the other hand, if a user logs in first or second time every time he or she tried to login in the past, but for some reason has taken 3 attempts this time, Intellipass will automatically reduce the number of attempts from 7 to 5 or 5 to 3. The second component of Intellipass is throwing in a random captcha or insert a time delay between the login attempts to prevent automated attacks.

Initial release will be in JAVA. We are requesting for everyone to send in their suggestions and ideas as to what can be done to make Intellipass usable by various companies. More details on Intellipass can be found here.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Free Hands on Workshop on Web Application Security in New York City

Ever wondered how a hacker hacks all these credit cards? Do you think hacking a website is difficult? What are the skills required to hack a website?

ISSA NY Metro chapter is organizing a 3 hour workshop on web application security. This session will show you how easy it is to steal credit card numbers, SSN, etc by doing a SQL injection attack or how you can steal passwords, hijack a session using Cross Site Scripting (XSS). This session will not only make you think like a hacker but also make you find and exploit vulnerabilities in a live web application that closely resembles those containing your personal information, credit card numbers and even medical history.Attendance is free for ISSA members and $35 for non members. This is a hands on session so please bring a laptop to this event to fully benefit from the material that will be presented. If you do not have a laptop, you should still attend and share with another member, or follow along on the big screen. PLease do not send RSVP, instead register at the link below.

Only 30 seats left

Event Type : Workshop / Hands on Training
Date & Time : May 27, 2010 2pm - 5pm
Price : Free for members, 35 for non-members

Location :

300 Madison Ave (Corner 42 Street)
New York, NY 10017

Registration Link -
Event Link -

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

MyAppSecurity - Secure Your Applications

As some of you know that I joined WhiteHat Security as a Director of Education Services since Dec 2007 to build their training division from scratch. Though it has been a very demanding job but it has been very satisfying too. I enjoyed working with various companies, training their developers and QA professionals and resolving their web application security issues. Through training, I not only trained people at various companies but also got a chance to interact with different development and security professionals and understand the challenges they were facing and guided them in building a solution that works.

Though WhiteHat is more about finding problems (vulnerabilities) and they do a wonderful job of it, I consider myself more of a solutions guy, meaning how to fix those vulnerabilities and that is where my past experience as a developer and architect, helps me a lot. Not to mention my experience as a Technology Risk Officer at Citigroup, where I contributed in building a Technology Risk Management program to protect their web applications. So, being a solutions guy, training was a perfect fit for me at WhiteHat but now I want to do more than just training, I want to utilize my skills to help companies in addressing their web application security challenges through my own company "MyAppSecurity".

I also want to thank WhiteHat for giving me the opportunity to work with some of the brightest brains in the industry. Its been a wonderful experience and I got to learn so many things not just about the security field but also about on the operation side of a small business. I will definitely be using this experience in establishing my own company. I want to wish WhiteHat Security luck in achieving their goals. I am definitely keeping my stock options :)

If any of you guys are looking for solutions to resolve your web application security challenges, feel free to shoot me an email at anurag (at) myappsecurity (dot) com or call me at 919-244-0803.