Flawed security from my ISP

Published on Friday, 09 May 2014 in Security ; tagged with security, password policy, bruteforce ; text version

The good and the bad

After spending six months in the Information Systems Security service of the Société Générale, I have got really impressed by how the security was managed!

To be clear, doing security on my free time gave me a pessimist opinion on security when managed by big companies.
But working with such a service as the ISS one from the SG changed my mind. In my humble opinion, they are doing excellent job!
Take it as you want of course, I am just a student with no real experience :/

But today I stumbled into such a bad password policy that it blew my mind, in a bad way (sigh).

The password policy from my ISP

Today I had to connect on my ISP (Internet Service Provider) website, in order to fill a paper about the new SEPA norm.
TL;DR: the SEPA - Single Euro Payments Area - is a new norm that aims to provide an unique way to do online payments for the European union (huge project here!)

Since it was the first time I went on their website, my ISP asked me to provide a password that will protect my account and there is the form:

ISP Password form

For those who do not speak French, the form translates as the following:

Definition of your password

Choose your private password from 3 to 8 alphanumeric characters

(in green) Conformed security
(in green) Your password fulfills the maximum characters allowed.

3 to 8 characters? Alphanumeric?

Meme How about no!

By the way, the password I wrote in the form was qwertyui.
Hopefully, this password is conform to their security policy! I feel secure now!

What is even funnier? Their full policy.

ISP Password policy


Your password has to follow the rules below:

  • from 3 to 8 characters among "a-z", "0-9" and "_"
  • only lowercase characters
  • no whitespace nor accent
  • the "_" cannot be in the first position

No only the characters have to be alphanumeric but they have to be lowercase!

Meme Psycho Patrick Bateman

What about the "_" not in the first position? Do not tell me that they don't know how to manage a database! Is it like 'id_password'? With some luck it is even saved in clear into their table...

FYI, here is a table that describes how long it might take to bruteforce a password according to its policy:

Time taken to bruteforce a

Few thoughts

I am scared by their policy. They are not just the website of my local association, they are my ISP!

On their website, my personal information appears (my first name, last name, my address, my email address and my phone number for instance). I can also change my offer to something more expansive and check my bills.

So if one day, my ISP provider gets hacked and their database gets leaked (and referenced here for instance), I will not be surprised to see their user passwords cracked in less than one week...

Meme Nothing to do here

Funny thing, I still didn't fill that paper...

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