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Might I Get Pwned: A Second Generation Password Breach Alerting Service

by   Bijeeta Pal, et al.

Credential stuffing attacks use stolen passwords to log into victim accounts. To defend against these attacks, recently deployed compromised credential checking (C3) services provide APIs that help users and companies check whether a username, password pair is exposed. These services however only check if the exact password is leaked, and therefore do not mitigate credential tweaking attacks in which the adversary guesses variants of a user's leaked passwords. We initiate work on C3 APIs that protect users from credential tweaking attacks. The core underlying challenge is how to identify passwords that are similar to their leaked passwords while preserving honest clients' privacy and also preventing malicious clients from extracting breach data from the service. We formalize the problem and explore a variety of ways to measure password similarity that balance efficacy, performance, and security. Based on this exploration, we design "Might I Get Pwned" (MIGP), a new kind of breach alerting service. Our simulations show that MIGP reduces the efficacy of state-of-the-art 10-guess credential tweaking attacks by 81 user privacy and limits potential exposure of sensitive breach entries. We show that the protocol is fast, with response time close to existing C3 services, and suitable for real-world deployment.


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