password : Java Glossary

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This Applet will run online in your browser, but it is a hybrid you can also download, install and run it on your own machine as standalone application. It will start and run faster if you do that. It will also work safely even if you have disabled Java in your browser.

password  password
A word you use to prove that you are truly you to a computer. You will have a password to log on to your operating system, one for each affiliate and even one for various free services on the web. Snoops can look at your files without knowing your login password by booting with an Ubuntu Linux CD (Compact Disc) and examining your files, bypassing Windows and its passwords. To protect against that, you need to encrypt your files. Then you have passwords on your files, not just Windows as a whole.
Selecting Passwords Rant on Multiple Passwords
Java Requirements and Troubleshooting Rant on Keying Passwords Blind
Implementing Passwords Weak Passwords
Digest Passwords Alternatives
Graphical Passwords
Passwords at the Client The 25 Most Common Passwords
Passwords at the Server Lost Passwords
Puzzles Password Storage
Diceware Password Solution
Hacking Links

Selecting Passwords

Passwords that are easy to guess include the names of loved ones and relatives, words in the dictionary, especially ones with strong emotional connotation like God, whale, love.

A tool can crack your password just by trying all words in the dictionary. So you must disguise them. Add digits, mix the case. This little program will generate you an impossible to guess password. If want to make sure I am not keeping a copy, download the source, check the program out and run it on your own machine.

Applet failed to run. No Java 1.8 or later plug-in found.

Java Requirements and Troubleshooting

Password is a Java Applet (that can also be run as an application) to Password Generator. You are welcome to install it on your own website. If it does not work…
  1. If Copy/Paste (Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V) do not work, you can turn them back on by modifying your java.policy file. This is not for the novice or faint of heart. instructions Your alternative is to download this program and run it without a browser.
  2. In the Java Control Panel security tab, click Start ⇒ Control Panel ⇒ Programs ⇒ Java ⇒ Security, configure medium security to allow self-signed and vanilla unsigned applets to run. If medium is not available, or if Java security is blocking you from running the program, configure high security and add to the Exception Site List at the bottom of the security tab.
  3. Often problems can be fixed simply by clicking the reload button on your browser.
  4. Make sure you have both JavaScript and Java enabled in your browser.
  5. Make sure the Java in your browser is enabled in the security tab of the Java Control panel. Click Start ⇒ Control Panel ⇒ Programs ⇒ Java ⇒ Security ⇒ Enable Java Content in the browser.
  6. This Java Applet (that can also be run as an application) needs 32-bit or 64-bit Java 1.8 or later. For best results use the latest 1.8.0_92 Java.
  7. You also need a recent browser.
  8. It works under any operating system that supports Java e.g. W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32, W8-64, W2012, W10-32, W10-64, Linux, LinuxARM, LinuxX86, LinuxX64, Ubuntu, Solaris, SolarisSPARC, SolarisSPARC64, SolarisX86, SolarisX64 and OSX
  9. You should see the Applet hybrid above looking much like this screenshot. If you don’t, the following hints should help you get it working:
  10. Especially if this Applet hybrid has worked before, try clearing the browser cache and rebooting.
  11. To ensure your Java is up to date, check with Wassup. First, download it and run it as an application independent of your browser, then run it online as an Applet to add the complication of your browser.
  12. If the above Applet hybrid does not work, check the Java console for error messages.
  13. If the above Applet hybrid does not work, you might have better luck with the downloadable version available below.
  14. If you are using Mac OS X and would like an improved Look and Feel, download the QuaQua look & feel from UnZip the contained quaqua.jar and install it in ~/Library/Java/Extensions or one of the other ext dirs.
  15. Upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer or another browser.
  16. Click the Information bar, and then click Allow blocked content. Unfortunately, this also allows dangerous ActiveX code to run. However, you must do this in order to get access to perfectly-safe Java Applets running in a sandbox. This is part of Microsoft’s war on Java.
  17. Try upgrading to a more recent version of your browser, or try a different browser e.g. Firefox, SeaMonkey, IE or Avant.
  18. If you still can’t get the program working click the red HELP button below for more detail.
  19. If you can’t get the above Applet hybrid working after trying the advice above and from the red HELP button below, have bugs to report or ideas to improve the program or its documentation, please send me an email atemail Roedy Green.
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If the print is too small to see, use the Opera browser and zoom. Or copy/paste the generated password blind.

Implementing Passwords

In a highly secure system, each end has a public and private key. They each encrypt and digitally sign a random message for the other to establish identity. Even these have to be carefully designed to withstand a man-in-the-middle attack.

There are some lower tech alternatives:

How not to store passwords click to watch

Digest Passwords

Servers often don’t store bald passwords. They store some sort of digest of them. That way if someone cracks the password file, they still don’t know the passwords.

Typically raw binary bytes generated by such authentication schemes are exchanged in base64.

Tomcat has a single signon so that all applications in a realm share the same set of user-IDs and passwords. If a user logs into one application, he is logged into all. This scheme uses cookies to authenticate each request.

Tomcat lets you configure the tables and columns to automatically look up and validate passwords. Caucho Resin similarly lets you configure SQL (Standard Query Language) queries to automatically find the passwords in your database.

Graphical Passwords

Another way is to use graphical passwords, easier for the user to remember and harder to steal. The basic idea is you display a complex image to the user and he selects a number of click points. I suspect this scheme is much less secure than it creators claim, since there are a limited number of natural points of interest in a photo, which could be easily discovered by showing the photo to 100 people.

Passwords at the Client

When your Applet or JWS (Java Web Start) applications is pretending to be a browser talking to a server, you can use the to automatically insert the userid and password base64-encoded in your HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) headers in the Authorization field. If the server does not like you userid/password combination in return a 401 Unauthorized response code. The server gives you no hint as to whether the userid or the password is the problem. You might consider this obnoxious behaviour, but it is done that way to make life difficult for people trying to hack the system.

Passwords at the Server

How passwords are handled is specific to each application server. Most will provide a rudimentary, unsuitable-for-production flat file scheme. The better ones will provide a means of configuring a database for the users. Almost all allow you to extend a class to provide a custom source.

Java Servlets defines a simple password scheme controlled entirely by a flat file web.xml. This would be suitable for a small company where the list of users and passwords could be maintained with a text editor by the system administrator.

The best approach (for expandability) is to incorporate a third party SSO (Single Sign-On) (some application servers come with one). This allows you to add new applications and share the login across them with a minimum of effort. Also, they typically plug into an existing LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) taking user and password management out of the application’s hands. This allows corporations to take advantage of existing LDAP data when deploying applications.

Tomcat offers five different interfaces to databases of passwords. JDBC (Java Data Base Connectivity) Realm lets you interface to a SQL users and userroles tables. You configure the name of your table containing the user IDs and passwords (among other things) and your rôle s table which describes which rôle s a user can play. You assign Tomcat a userid/password and jDBC connect string to give it with read-only access to your database to perform the authentications. It is much simpler than it first looks.


Things I have not yet figured out include:


This is a scheme for picking a password without using a computer, just some casino dice. The paranoid instructions are somewhat tongue in cheek. The scheme is just as vulnerable as any other if there is a keystroke logger (hardware or software) installed on your computer. It is just as vulnerable as other schemes to others discovering a copy of your password stored somewhere. The big advantage is you don’t have to trust the author of password-generating software.


Here are some ways to crack/guess passwords:

I hope this shows you why making up passwords is not a good practice. You need something truly random like passwords from the password generator.

Rant on Multiple Passwords

There is a special ring in hell for companies that issue multiple account numbers and passwords to each client and make them guess which one the computer wants. If some people have access to a forum, just add a permission bit to their account record. Don’t issue them a separate account number.

Rant on Keying Passwords Blind

In HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), you can force people to type blind into forms. Instead of what you type, you just see ***. This feature is commonly used to hide the password as you login to some website.

<!-- making the user type a password blind in html5 -->
<form action="/login" method="get">
<input name="user[password]" size="50" type="password">

Disadvantages of Typing Blind

Advantages of Typing Blind

Some sites make you type blind, but let you see what you are typing at any time by clicking a button. I think that is a reasonable compromise.

Another related problem is making you type a Captcha when you register. It takes about 40 trials to get the Captcha right. Each time they erase the passwords you have selected. The security benefits are almost nil. The frustration and ill will is huge.

Weak Passwords

Sometimes sites require a password just to read material or make comments. You could care less if anyone cracked your password. It is a nuisance to create a strong password and have to look it up every time you logon to the site. In that case you can use a weak password.


Passwords are primitive. They are little better than no security at all. There are better systems, called private/public certificates that have been around for decades that don’t require you to reveal your password to anyone, not even yourself, so they do not require websites maintaining good security. They don’t require you to memorize or type anything.

What are the alternatives? claim they will soon have a system based on your phone number. I am skeptical. Any such system that was secure would not even need a phone number. If it is based on your phone number, any who knows your phone number can apply the algorithm, and learn your password. Besides you need way more than just one password.

The 25 Most Common Passwords

If you have been using one of these passwords, or ones similar, you might as well not have a password at all. If you use any word in the dictionary, a patient computer hacker makes that password almost as ridiculous.

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345678
  4. qwerty
  5. abc123
  6. 123456789
  7. 111111
  8. 1234567
  9. iloveyou
  10. adobe123
  11. 123123
  12. Admin
  13. 1234567890
  14. letmein
  15. photoshop
  16. 1234
  17. monkey
  18. shadow
  19. sunshine
  20. 12345
  21. password1
  22. princess
  23. azerty
  24. trustno1
  25. 000000

Lost Passwords

Many websites insist you tell them your email id and your userId before they will send you your lost password or let you choose a new one. If you have lost your password 90% of the time you have also lost your userId. All you should need is your email. Your main defence against this is to use the exact same userId everywhere. You cannot do this perfectly because sites will often reject your first choice. I normally use the id RoedyGreen because it is unlikely someone else has already chosen it. It is sufficiently long. People seeing it can google Roedy Green to find my other works and my website even on sites that ban URLs (Uniform Resource Locators). It also assures people it is a real name.

When you make a mistake in your userId or password, sites will not tell if the problem is you no longer have an account, typed the userId incorrectly or typed the password incorrectly. There is good reason for this. If they gave you hints, they would also be giving hackers hints to crack your password.

Password Storage

There are programs that will securely store all your passwords. They are protected by one master password and encryption. Such programs include:

Adobe installs True Key without your permission, and it resists the ordinary attempts at uninstallation. This is not the behaviour you expect from Adobe.

In case the product/service is discontinued, there should be some way to export the passwords in human-readable form.

Chrome, Firefox and Opera will remember your passwords, and automatically send them when needed. This is very convenient and secure. You don’t have to select the password, key, or copy-paste it. The catch is browsers periodically forget their list of passwords without warning.

Password Solution

Sites that ask you to provide passwords should either:

Websites should not permit passwords that appear in the dictionary. They should either assign random passwords or use digital certificates. If you let people use weak passwords, they will.

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