[Toybox] [New Toy] pwgen

Moritz Röhrich moritz at ildefons.de
Wed Dec 9 03:21:05 PST 2020

Hi Rob, hi enh,

thanks for reviewing this so quickly. I see that I need to up my C-foo quite a
bit still ;-)

Anyways, my naive implementation was based on the fact my use case does not
depend on the pronounceability or really good randomness as much.
Having it in toybox is nice because that allows me to use more minimalistic
toybox based images in cases where I currently have to use much larger images.

Best regards, Moritz

On Wed, Dec 09, 2020 at 12:38:41AM -0600, Rob Landley wrote:
> On 12/8/20 12:38 PM, enh wrote:
> >     In any case, it's a complete rewrite of the password generation logic, although
> >     that's now a drop-in replacement for a tiny code block. If you think it's worth
> >     doing, I can do it...
> Looking at the history, the original description of this command back in 1988
> was "random but pronounceable password generator":
>   https://groups.google.com/g/comp.sources.misc/c/7nvaNzbjMXk
> So... maybe? But not right now, I've reopened the shell can of worms and am
> hip-deep again at the moment. (The set command changes the positional parameters
> and the allocation lifetime means I need function context to stick a delete list
> on, which I need to implement function calls anyway so might as well do that now...)
> > i have no opinion on that, not having used either, but did think it might be
> > worth changing the docs to match reality:
> > 
> > -      -s  --secure                      Generate more random passwords.
> > +      -s  --secure                      Generate random passwords (default).
> I already checked in a commit that made -s disable the two high bit checks to
> make punctuation and capital letters occur less often. The result is more random
> (and less human readable) passwords.
> Another thing the "here's a screen full of passwords" does is let you pick one
> you like. I admit our code is aesthetically inferior (for native english
> speakers), but it's small and simple.
> > i see there's also a secpwgen(1) but that seems to be slightly different again?
>   $ man secpwgen
>   No manual entry for secpwgen
> I'd rather not go down that rathole, thanks. :)
> Should the command exist: "make bloatcheck" puts this at 693 bytes on x86-64,
> which is reasonable for what it does. A user with a use case asked for it, it's
> an existing command (dating back to 1988 and currently in version 2.07 of the
> rewrite by a kernel developer), and I can see an embedded system wanting to
> "pwgen -1" and then spit the wireless password out on a tiny LCD or similar.
> Should we try to improve the output: these days passwords smell like a PIN for 2
> factor authentication to me. An ATM hands out MONEY if you stick in your card
> and enter just a 4 digit PIN, and while we could make PINs longer and add
> letters and punctuation the POINT is just to alert a human and flag the card as
> maybe stolen if you do it wrong 3 times in a row. (3 in 10000 chance of
> guessing, and it's got video cameras to see who tried.) Even when the second
> factor is just "user account name" plus "IP address you're trying from", that's
> enough to flag multiple consecutive failed attempts (and ddos is also easy to
> spot), and brute forcing just 8 lower case letters is 1 in 209 billion. No
> password protects from a key logger and if somebody gets an /etc/shadow file to
> brute force at their leisure without attempt ratelimiting I doubt it matters how
> long/complex the passwords are?
> A "be nicer to humans" aesthetic argument makes sense to me, but is also almost
> by definition bikeshedding. A "be more secure" argument is above my pay grade. I
> already switched random sources, beyond that I expect the security guys to tsk
> sadly, tell you to use an ssh key, get a USB dongle on top of that, and change
> your biometric data frequently.
> Rob

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