1Password 3.8.11 for Mac brings improvements and fixes

We have some good news right now, and some more in-depth good news about this good news on the way. To kick things off: 1Password 3.8.11 for Mac is out for our website customers, and it brings some important under-the-hood changes.

For our Mac App Store customers: 1Password 3.9.2 already contains all of these fixes except for the password strength indicator change. That should come in a future update. To give you a better understanding of what these changes mean, our Chief Defender Against the Dark Arts, Jeff Goldberg, is whipping up a blog post right now. So until then, I’ll just leave our release notes right here:

Changed

  • Improving defence against brute force attacks by increasing PBKDF2 iterations from 1000 to 10000. Currently this applies only to newly created data files. For more information on PBKDF2, please see this blog post.
  • Removed deprecated “New Logins Bookmarklet” feature. Users of this feature are encouraged to use the iOS edition of 1Password or 1PasswordAnywhere.
  • Removed Export to Encrypted Web Page feature. Users of this feature are encouraged to use 1PasswordAnywhere or the iOS edition of 1Password.
  • Improved defence against data harvesters by not including the password strength indicator. This only applies to new and edited items; to update all your old items, the Help > Troubleshooting > Rebuild Data File menu can be used.
  • Several updates and improvements to the Diagnostics Report.
  • Updated to latest Growl framework.
  • When downloading website previews 1Password now correctly downloads Apple touch icons from non-standard locations.

Fixed

  • Fixed issue where empty items and deleted folders would appear in the 1PasswordAnywhere Trash.
  • Now clearing caches after rebuilding data file.
  • Fixed the problem where 1Password could freeze when deleting a Smart Folder.

AgileBits Thanks-To-You Sale

This week is Thanksgiving in the US. But even if you don’t live in the US (like some of us at AgileBits), we can all probably be thankful for something. For example: we’re thankful for things like iOS 5, PBKDF2 calibration, and getting mentioned in the Wall Street Journal’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. But as with every year, we’re most thankful for you, our amazing customers, so we’re celebrating with a Thanks-To-You Sale!

Starting today and running through Wednesday, November 30, all AgileBits products are 50% off! That goes for 1Password for Mac, Windows, iPhone, and iPad, as well as Knox for Mac, across our Agile Store, the Mac App Store, and iTunes App Store! These prices also work for gift purchases and licenses from all stores. Heck, even our free 1Password reader apps for Android and Windows Phone 7 are 50% freer during this sale!

I’ll break out some numbers for you:

1Password on sale

1Password for iPhone and iPad on sale

Knox for Mac on sale

Again, we really mean it when we say we are most thankful for you, our customers. Without you, we couldn’t do what we love for a living, so this sale is our way to offer some appreciation. You’ll have to act quickly, though—these prices end Wednesday, November 30!

1Password for Windows: Our new extension is ready to try in Safari

Sometimes, a browser extension comes along that changes everything. Your philosophy on life is forever altered. The way you experience the internet fundamentally shifts. Your dog and cat go apartment hunting together. Nothing is the same.

Our new 1Password browser extension will not do any of those things to your world, valiant Windows users, but it will make a huge improvement to the way you browse the internet with 1Password. We’ve re-imagined our 1Password browser extension to bring you a better, faster experience, and put more of your 1Password data than ever before at your fingertips, right inside your browser.

Today we’re releasing the new version of our 1Password browser extension in beta for Windows users to test, and we’re starting by supporting one of our most requested browsers: Safari for Windows. Of course, support for more browsers will follow soon.

How to get it

To get it, you’ll need to opt into our beta testing process:

  • Open 1Password
  • Click the Preferences toolbar button (or press Control-P)
  • Go to the Updates pane, enable the Beta option, click Check Now, and update to the latest beta (it should be at least version 1.0.9.BETA-237 or higher)

Now, to get the new Safari extension:

  • Visit our Windows extension page to download and install our new Safari extension
  • Enjoy testing our new Safari extension!

Note: the first time you unlock the extension, the initial sync might take a little longer than usual. That’s normal, and the next time you unlock shouldn’t take nearly as long.

How to use it

So, what’s the big deal about the new extension? The redesign allows it to be much more flexible and make more of your information available, even editable, right in your browser—no need to stop what you’re doing and open the main 1Password app. Here are some quick highlights and tips to help you get the most out of the new extension:

  • Control-\ is your one-stop-shop: The new default Logins pane does double-duty, displaying “Logins for the Current Site” at the top, and a list of “All Logins” just below. Just hit Control-\ to open the extension on any webpage (you can configure this shortcut in the 1Password app’s settings)
  • Arrow keys are your friend: If you’re a keyboard ninja, you can arrow up and down the list of Logins. If you hit return on a Login in the ‘Submit Login’ section, 1Password will fill it into the current site. If it’s in the ‘All Logins’ section below, 1Password will open a new tab, take you straight to the site, and log you in
  • Type to search: If mousing around and arrow keys aren’t your style, you can type in any pane to start filtering on the fly. A search box will appear at the top, and the item list will instantly slim down to just what you’re looking for (note: this is basically a quick way to enable the new search icon in the upper left)
  • View, copy item details in your browser: Say you need to copy a password for a Flash site, or you need to paste a 1Password detail into some other app. You can click the right arrow next to any item in the new extension, or hit your keyboard’s right arrow key, to view most of its details right within the extension. Mouse over any detail and click it to quickly copy it to your clipboard for pasting elsewhere
  • Click headers to change behavior: Do you need to complete a CAPTCHA on some sites before logging in? Or perhaps you prefer to open new windows instead of new tabs. You can click the headers in the Logins pane to change how they behave. You can chose to just fill a Login instead of fill and submit (in case you need to do other things on the page), and instead of opening Logins in a new tab, you can choose to open them in a new window or even the current tab
  • Fill Credit Cards and Identities: Any Credit Cards and Identities you’ve added to the main 1Password app are available in their own panes below Logins. Filling them into websites is just as easy: you can open the 1Password extension, mouse or arrow your way to the Credit Card or Identity you need, and click or hit Return to fill it into the site’s form
  • Tab between panes: You can use the Tab key to quickly switch between the Logins, Credit Cards, Identities, Strong Password Generator, and Settings panes

Check out more screenshots in our gallery at the end of this post!

How to get in touch

Since this is a beta, we’re hoping to hear some feedback in our Windows beta forum with your thoughts on how it’s going, and especially when you run into bugs. After all, there’s a reason we’re using the beta badge.

In case you didn’t catch that, yes: it was a wink wink, nudge nudge to please leave feedback in our Windows beta forum.

How to stay tuned

We’ll update 1Password and this new extension based on your feedback, and we’ll have announcements of more Windows browser support soon. Until then, follow us on Twitter @1Password and @AgileBits, like us on Facebook, and subscribe here to stay on top of all our update news!

Defending against 1Password harvesters

We have some bad news and good news today about the state of Mac security. The bad news is that there’s a new malware variant out for the Mac, a trojan called DevilRobberV3, that tries to collect various pieces of data, including your 1Password data file. The good news is that your 1Password data is very well encrypted, but we still want to take this opportunity to review a few details of what’s going on.

We don’t think this poses any real danger to 1Password users. But because our knowledge of DevilRobberV3 is still fairly limited, I want to revisit some of our long-standing recommendations for ensuring your 1Password data stays safe.

What do we know about DevilRobberV3?

At this time, we know little about DevilRobberV3 beyond what has been reported by F-Secure. It is a trojan that can be installed when someone tries to download and install a pirated version of Pixalmator from websites that offer stolen software. The fake Pixalmator installer instead installs DevilRobber3, which mostly just gathers system information and sends it off to the malware’s creators.

The main business of DevilRobber3 is that it steals time on an infected computer to engage in creating bitcoins, a type of virtual currency used by some internet services. But what matters to us here is the system information that is also gathered, and that list can vary depending on variant of DevilRobber3. So far, here is a rough list of information that might be collected if DevilRobber3 gets onto a Mac: OS X Keychain; Safari browsing historynumber of files with “truecrypt” in the name, “pthc”, and “vidalia”; shell command history; bitcoin wallet contents; 1Password file contents; system log file; external IP address of the infected machine; downstream and upstream bit rate of the infected network; malware’s port mapping attempt status; and time the malware was executed. Earlier versions also took a screenshot.

Because they are collecting so much information along with running the bitcoin farming, I expect that this is more of a fishing (not phishing) expedition. They are trying to learn about systems in general and do not have a plan of attack using any collected data. I am speculating, of course, so let’s take a look at the worst an attacker could do with your 1Password data.

Defending against the worst case

First I’d like to reassure everyone that your key 1Password data is extremely well encrypted. Our Strong Password Generator tool creates extremely strong passwords for websites, and we use the best encryption tools and protocols available for encrypting those passwords (learn more about how 1Password encrypts your information in our support doc). I doubt that anyone is actually specifically trying to exploit 1Password data files they might obtain, but because we can’t rule it out, we need to consider what bad guys could do with captured data.

1. Guessing your Master Password

Since day one, we’ve highlighted how important it is to have a strong, memorable Master Password. If you want some help to create a great Master Password or improve the one you have, please see one of our many  previous blog posts with tips and tricks, the geek edition of that post, or this help doc. Note that changing your master password after your data file is stolen will not protect the captured data. So don’t wait until there is some sort of breach on your machine before making sure you have a good Master Password.

2. Attacking the websites you visit

In our current 1Password data file format, the URL of a Login is not encrypted. If you have an account on Amazon.com, an attacker who has obtained your data file can see that you do, but cannot see your username or password.

The password strength indicator (whether 1Password considers your password to be strong or weak) is also not encrypted in the current form of the database. Generally, this lets us strike a good balance between securing your most important data (such as usernames and passwords), allowing the 1Password data file to be stored and synced securely with cloud services like Dropbox, and still offering features like sorting your Logins by URL or by password strength. You can learn more about why the 1Password data file has been designed this way in our cloud storage security doc.

So even though your passwords are extremely well encrypted in your 1Password data file, an attacker might learn that you have a weak password for www.example.com. If the attacker can also guess your username (I, for one, use pretty much the same couple of usernames everywhere), and you used a weak password on a site instead of our Strong Password Generator, they may be able to use this knowledge to attempt a brute force (guessing lots of passwords) directly against www.example.com. Fortunately, the vast majority of websites will block or delay logins after some number of failed login attempts.

If you think you might have some weak passwords saved in 1Password, perhaps from The Old Days before you started using our Strong Password Generator, take a look at our previous advice on how to find and update weak passwords. This involves sorting your 1Password data by password strength in the 1Password application, then updating your password using 1Password’s Strong Password Generator feature. Note that sorting data by password strength may soon be removed (so that the strength is no longer stored unencrypted), which means that this specific tips may be limited to data created and viewed with 1Password for Mac (App store) version 3.9.2 and prior, 1Password for Mac (non-MAS) 3.8.10 and prior, and 1Password for Windows 1.0.9.235 and prior.

Those are steps you can take to increase your already high level of security. There is always a “weakest link”, which is what we need to look at when considering worst case scenarios.

What we can do

Although users need to pick good passwords, it is not our intention push the entire security responsibility on to users. Our goal has always been to make it easy and convenient for you to behave securely. So the question is: what are we doing to guard against the dangers listed above? First of all, the security is already extremely strong. But we are always looking at where we can improve upon the weakest link.

1. Moving ahead with new data format

We have already discussed how the data format currently used in 1Password 3 needs to be improved in the light of increased computer power and increased risk of data theft. Work on our new data format is coming along, but it is still not ready for all platforms (we need to make certain that it works on every platform that 1Password supports). So this doesn’t present an immediate solution to the news of malware that collects 1Password data. Once it does arrive though, our new data file format will offer some advantages, one of them being that even more of your data (including Login URLs) is encrypted.

2. Increasing PKBDF2 iterations

I’ve discussed the role that PBKDF2 plays in protecting your Master Password from automated password guessing systems. We are currently exploring increasing the number of PBKDF2 iterations, but, I don’t want to promise anything specific until we’re confident to release it. We need to work through compatibility across platforms, and performance specifically on mobile platforms when syncing data. But we are actively testing things as I write this. (We put in hooks into the code a while back anticipating the need to increase PBKDF2 iterations.)

3. Removing password strength information

We are also testing at the moment the consequences of removing unencrypted password strength information from the current data format. If we do this, it will have more visible consequences for users. This will almost certainly mean changes to how users will need to find weak passwords among their data.

So look for updates soon that will make 1Password your 1Password data even more resistant to attack.

In summary

If you become a victim of the DevilRobberV3 trojan, we have no reason to doubt the security of your 1Password data file. Ever since 1Password was just a few scribbles on bar napkins, we’ve designed and coded the 1Password data file to remain secure in scenarios such as your computer or mobile device getting stolen, or something like a trojan gets ahold of it. The particular changes that we are looking at for the immediate future are things that we’ve been working on for months.

Lessons

One lesson, if I can be forgiven for repeating myself, is that security is a dynamic process. We re-assess threats, our own design, and our implementation of that design. A security product is never really done; it is, instead, an on-going process.

Another lesson is that you should be part of that on-going process. The advice listed above isn’t new, and so regular readers of this blog will already have the extra level of security. My somewhat tautological advice, then, is that you should follow our advice.

Finally, and this should go without saying, don’t download and install software from unknown or untrustworthy sources. There are enormous numbers of reasons to not download pirated software, but one of those reasons is that the people you are downloading from are criminals. You never know what you might end up really installing. Even if you are not trying to pirate software be very careful of deals that “seem too good to be true”. It may be a topic for another day, but Wil Shipley has some nice recommendations about how Apple can help with software distribution in a way that would reduce the opportunity for trojans to be installed on OS X.

1Password 3.9.2 now in the Mac App Store

Mac App Store customers have a great reason to swing over to the Updates tab, because 1Password 3.9.2 is out! This isn’t quite as large of an update as 3.9.1 just two weeks ago, but its key fixes and performance improvements go a little something like this:

Improvements:

  • Improved performance when deleting a folder.
  • Added ‘Quit’ item to 1Password Helper menu.

Bug fixes:

  • Fixed problem where item data could be lost in certain scenarios.
  • Fixed problem where “Restore from Backup” window would not show the latest backups.
  • Fixed the problem where 1Password could freeze when deleting a Smart Folder.
  • Fixed problem creating saved search for Unfiled folder (items that not in any folder).
  • Now clearing cache after data file is rebuilt.
As you might guess, 1Password 3.9.2 for Mac is a free update for existing owners. Just open the Mac App Store app and click the Updates tab to start downloading!

Steamed up and ready to change passwords

Steam logo
The details are still vague, but it appears that the encrypted passwords of 35 million Steam users have been captured by bad guys. Note that there were two breaches. One was of Steam forums, the other is of their main user database. I am just discussing the later here as it involves many more users.

The passwords in the captured database were “hashed and salted”, which means that if you were using a strong password (say one generated by 1Password’s Strong Password Generator) you should be unaffected. Also if your password there was only used for Valve Corporation’s Steam game platform, then you don’t need to change it on other sites. Valve has not released details about exactly how the passwords are salted and hashed, so we should assume that weak passwords there are still vulnerable to crackers.

Tips for checking for duplicate and weak passwords

It’s really really important to have strong and unique passwords. So we’ve written about those before. You can read more about finding duplicates in 1Password for Mac and finding them using 1Password for Windows.

But for the very short version, on 1Password for Windows, you can sort your passwords by strength.

and in 1Password on the Mac you can search for specific passwords, which can help you find duplicates.

“Hashed and salted”

Websites should store your passwords in an encrypted format, typically using a “hash” function. The crucial characteristic of a hash algorithm is that it is unfeasible to calculate the original password (or other data) from the hash. For example, if we take the string “My voice is my passport, verify me” and run that through the (outdated) MD5 hashing algorithm, we get “7be5e25ce0fe807127c694c9bcb0008b”. If you have no prior reason to suspect what the password is, there, is no feasible way of computing this backwards.

Now suppose that someone has used the most common password out there, “123456”. The MD5 hash of that is “e10adc3949ba59abbe56e057f20f883e”. Couldn’t the bad guys just compute the hashes of some common passwords and then look for those hashes in the database? A quick scan of the database for “e10adc3949ba59abbe56e057f20f883e” should get you all of users who have “123456” as their password.

This is where salting comes in. Systems add a random something, called “salt”, to the password before hashing it. So if the random salt for a particular user is “4c8x” then what would get hashed would be “4c8x123456” and then what gets stored is both the salt and the hash of the salted password. Maybe something like “4c8x+70914eddcc1e5ad56f18076f7d2433cf”. The salt isn’t secret, but because it will be different for each user, the attacker can’t simply pre-compute the hashes for common passwords. It also means that if two users have the same passwords, the hashes will be different.

Salting passwords pretty much essential. Any site that isn’t salting passwords before hashing isn’t, well, worth their salt. Databases of this sort do get stolen, and the designers of these systems need to take that into account. It’s nice to know that Steam didn’t make the same mistakes as Sony.

For higher security passwords and for things that attackers have easier access to, salting isn’t enough. For those cases (like your 1Password Master Password) a cracker thwarting key derivation function is needed. I’ve written about our use PBKDF2 for those who would like to understand what we do to protect your master password.

1Password Tips: A quick way to create Software License items [Mac]

One of 1Password’s many tricks is being a handy, secure place to store all your software licenses. You know, all those apps you’ve bought over the years, or all those multi-user licenses you have to keep track of for your business? Instead of leaving those lying around in Sticky Notes and random Mail folders, the File > New Item > New Software License option in 1Password could do wonders for your organizational mojo.

But wait, there’s an even faster way to create a Software License item! If you simply drag and drop an app from Finder onto 1Password or its Dock icon, a new Software License item will be automatically created with that app’s icon, name, and current version—half the work’s already been done for you! The only thing left is to paste your license for safe keeping and add any other details you want to hang onto.

Software license

For a bonus tip two-fer: don’t forget that every 1Password Vault type—including Logins, Identities, and Secure Notes—supports file attachments. While you’re editing your Software License item, you can drag-and-drop text files, custom license files, or even messages straight out of Mail into the Attachments area at the bottom of the item.

And now you know!

Start your Mac App Store engines, 1Password 3.9.1 is out!

I want to start this post by thanking you. Our debut in the Mac App Store just under two months ago was a huge success, and that’s because of you. Then you gave us some great feedback that helped us overcome some challenges and make 1Password and its browser extension perform even better. To repay your wonderful deeds, our first major (and free!) update since arriving in the Mac App Store is now available, and it brings some handy new features and a whole lotta fixes.

1Password 3.9.1 has a bunch of new tricks up its sleeve, like support for the WebKit browser and Google Chrome Canary and Chromium. You can now double-click a different .AgileKeychain data file and 1Password will offer to replace your current file or merge the contents of both files together. We greatly improved the import process from SplashID, and a new Help > Troubleshooting menu has some useful tools for when things aren’t working quite right.

This huge update also fixes a handful of problems that some of you were seeing, from sidebar folders that won’t stay deleted, to faster syncing of changes you make between the app and browser extensions, and big performance improvements across the board. You can check out the full change log below, or just head over to the Mac App Store to update your copy or pick one up!

Read more