Javascript
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Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:03 am

Hello, I am trying to do a project on network security, but I need help on making a question for it. I originally wrote: " How does the length of your password affect the chance of it being ?". My teacher said I have to put it in another word because it is too obvious to answer( the more numbers/ letters in your password, the stronger it is). Can anyone suggest a question that is relevant, but a project where I have to do experiments to find an answer? Thanks!

The link for the idea is here:
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... -be-hacked

drgeoff
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:18 pm

I would argue that length alone is a useless indicator.

For example setting the password to 'password' is probably less secure than 'zpCj8'.

A better question would be "What characteristics of a password..."

But it is not immediately obvious to me how you would do meaningful experiments on this topic.
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Javascript
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:26 am

drgeoff wrote:
Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:18 pm
I would argue that length alone is a useless indicator.

For example setting the password to 'password' is probably less secure than 'zpCj8'.

A better question would be "What characteristics of a password..."

But it is not immediately obvious to me how you would do meaningful experiments on this topic.
well, I need an idea for a science fair project, and I wanted to do something that had to do with technology. I already knew the basic syntax for Python and also made a couple of projects. Do you know any topics that I can test on? I also have a rasberry pi 3 if it is relevant.

scotty101
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:33 am

The topic of password complexity is quite a good one.

You could write a python program to 'brute force' crack a simple password, start at 'a' and work all the way through 'ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ' for example maybe throwing in some symbols too. Time how long it takes for your simple brute force method to break in and compare with passwords of different lengths.
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B.Goode
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:38 am

I originally wrote: " How does the length of your password affect the chance of it being ?". My teacher said I have to put it in another word
Maybe your teacher was not making a technical comment, but pointing out that your question appears to be incomplete and meaningless?

Heater
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:43 am

B.Goode,
Maybe your teacher was not making a technical comment, but pointing out that your question appears to be incomplete and meaningless?
Good catch.

Clearly if the password has a length of zero it has zero chance of being.

If the password is longer than zero then it's probability of being is 100%

:)
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:48 pm

A couple fo ideas...

"How does password length affect the difficulty of being cracked?" (Or "discovered" if you want to avoid jargon.)

You could also turn the whole thing around. Write the best password cracking program you can and then set up a Pi with a keyboard, allowing people to type in proposed passwords to see how long the Pi takes to crack them. One thing to include in your program would be a dictionary search (if the password is in the dictionary, it'll be cracked very, very quickly, regardless of length).

Javascript
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:24 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:48 pm
A couple fo ideas...

"How does password length affect the difficulty of being cracked?" (Or "discovered" if you want to avoid jargon.)
I tried to do that, but my teacher said that it will be too obvious. He said the longer the password, the harder to crack. So I need the concept, but not a project that is something that can be answered by a person that did not research before this project.

Javascript
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:28 am

B.Goode wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:38 am
I originally wrote: " How does the length of your password affect the chance of it being ?". My teacher said I have to put it in another word
Maybe your teacher was not making a technical comment, but pointing out that your question appears to be incomplete and meaningless?
He said that You have to do a project which has to be experimented to get the answer. Something like the length of the password affecting the chance of it being cracked is too obvious because anyone can say that the longer the password, the lower the chance of it being cracked.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:01 pm

Javascript wrote:
Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:28 am
B.Goode wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:38 am
I originally wrote: " How does the length of your password affect the chance of it being ?". My teacher said I have to put it in another word
Maybe your teacher was not making a technical comment, but pointing out that your question appears to be incomplete and meaningless?
He said that You have to do a project which has to be experimented to get the answer. Something like the length of the password affecting the chance of it being cracked is too obvious because anyone can say that the longer the password, the lower the chance of it being cracked.
Well...except that that isn't strictly true. A very long password picked from a dictionary will--using effective techniques--be far easier to crack than a much shorter, well constructed, password. A classic cracking method is to start with a dictionary check (which is pretty fast) and, if that fails, move on to more complex methods. I can even think of some ways to do an "enhanced" dictionary search that would likely to yield reasonably fast results.

Another study (which was done decades ago, as documented in one of the unix manuals) would be to look at passwords actually used to see how good passwords in actual use are (the results in the article I read many years ago was "very poor", with many people using single ASCII character passwords).

gkaiseril
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Re: Turning a Science fair idea into a question.

Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:08 pm

I expect your teacher wants some type of project that is more than just reviewing the literature of a specific subject and would involve some type of demonstration involving the subject of your project.

Since it looks like your dealing with passwords, you might want to consider the ¨social engineering" aspects of passwords and password security.

You could include a word guessing game without hints but tells users that the word is at least 8 characters long and track how many tries it takes to guess the word.
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