Forums Community Two factor authentication

This topic contains 10 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  peter franzico 1 week ago.

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  • #4075 Reply

    Dirk

    Hi,

    how about implementing two-factor authentication for sign in on version 2, maybe with Google authenticator.  That might help many of us who are concerned with having a single password in version 2.

    Also would be great to have the option for an automatic timeout so that every set number of minutes it automatically signs out and we have to reenter our password and 2FA.  Seems like the best way to help combat the fear of a zero day exploit taking over our account

    Thanks

    #4076 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Dirk,

    Thank you for your input. I’ll be writing a longer text on Authentication vs. Encryption, but very briefly. Authentication is about proving to a system that you are who you claim to be, i.e. to provide evidence to support the claim. In the physical world, this might be a passport for example. Encryption is not really about proving anything, it’s about either knowing or not knowing an encryption key. Either you know it, or you don’t. Two-factor authentication is about providing stronger evidence to support your identity claim. With encryption, that doesn’t make sense, because there is no identity claim involved, it’s just about either posessing or not posessing the decryption key.

    All that being said, we’re thinking about the possibility of some hybrid system if we can figure something out that makes sense both from a security point of view, and from a user point of view. Our main issue here is that we’d like to keep AxCrypt to be about *real* security, not *perceived* . I.e. we don’t want to add features that many users believes increases security, while in fact it does not.

    A timeout for the sign in is in the works, by popular demand. You can follow it here: https://bitbucket.org/axantum/axcrypt-net/issues/208/sign-out-automatically-on-a-set-time .

    Once again – thank you!

    #6232 Reply

    Carl

    Svante,

    True but the likes of  Google Authenticator  generate a one time password so that there may be an indirect  security benefit in that it facilitates the use of very long and complex passwords by offering  the option of a single entry of the password on a specific device with the app (and therefore the encryption password) protected by by a one time authentication password.

    OK strictly speaking that is not 2 factor authentication but rather the splitting of the two functions of encryption and authentication but that may become even more relevant when you  implement a timeout.

    Carl

    #6233 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Carl,

    I’m not following. The Google Authenticator is still about proving identity – not possessing a secret. Remember that AxCrypt is designed to handle the following scenario:

    The attacker has access to the following:

    – One or more encrypted files, and the original decrypted originals for all but the file(s) being attacked.
    – All the source code and technical documentation for the application.
    – Tools and skill to use, write and adapt code to try passwords/keys without interference of operating system or server authentication – i.e. entirely offline and under the attackers control.
    – Lots and lots of hardware (think custom built supercomputers) and money, vast amounts of money (many, many millions of $).

    In fact, the only things the attacker is not assumed to have is the password, and you (so you can’t be forced to reveal the password).

    Therefore, having various additional stronger “authentication” methods does not really make sense, since we assume the attacker can get round those. We still want AxCrypt to stand strong. And it does, provided you use a sufficiently strong password, which we try relatively hard to help you with.

    #9418 Reply

    John

    Svante

    I don’t understand your argument that two factor authentication doesn’t enhance security other than making a poor and weak excuse for Ax Crypt  not having it. Forget authentication v security semantics and perceptions and provide authentication. Better you spend time on this than on timeout.

    #9419 Reply

    Wilberforce

    Forget authentication v security semantics and perceptions and provide authentication

    It will not be provided for a very good reason:

    • implementing 2FA would weaken AxCrypt.

    For more information read this:

    https://www.axcrypt.net/blog/encryption-vs-authentication/

    For a longer explanation read this:

    https://blog.agilebits.com/2011/09/23/two-factor-or-not-two-factor/

    #9460 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello John,

    You need to understand that AxCrypt in particular and encryption in general is not about authentication. Therefore, two-factor authentication does not make sense.

    Encryption is about having a secret, or not having a secret, making decryption possible. There’s no authentication involved. There’s no software checking your credentials and then giving, or not giving, access to your data. That’s authentication. That’s not what AxCrypt does.

    The data is encrypted. Either you possess the secret, and the decryption works – or you don’t and the decryption won’t work.

    Sure, we can split the secret (the key) into parts, and store them on tokens etc – but it’s not two factor authentication, because we’re not authenticating. We’re encrypting and decrypting.

    Do read the blog posts referred to as well for more detail.

    #10253 Reply

    Anonymous

    I could be wrong but how about keyloggers or password stealers. If they log my keys on the password and user name 2FA will prevent that. Agreed you are allready hacked BUT using the 2FA it will be difficult to decrypt. Do I see that wrong?

    Remco

    #10254 Reply

    Anonymous

    Maybe Iam wrong but if there is a keylogger or a password stealer 2FA will be the solution.

    #10322 Reply

    lnc

    Our process is designed around entering a password/key *at* the file-open action.  This prevents an interactively compromised/shared host from being able to open secured files — the second factor is not the workstation login; it is the entry of the passphrase upon the file-open action.  The 2.0 mechanism prevents this process.  1.X allows a fully-offline control of accessing our files.  Does 2.x allow this?

    #10339 Reply

    peter franzico

    I feel less secure with axcrypt than I do with something like my protonmail, which uses 2 passwords, 1 to log in, and a second for the mailbox, and also google authenticator.

     

    I’ve had keyloggers steal my passwords and log into my encrypted archives, what can be done to provide protection against key loggers. No hacker will try and break encryption when its so easy to just steal passwords.

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