Revisiting Security Vulnerabilities in Commercial Password Managers

Michael Carr and Siamak F. Shahandashti.
IFIP SEC 2020 (to appear).


In this work we analyse five popular commercial password managers for security vulnerabilities. Our analysis is twofold. First, we compile a list of previously disclosed vulnerabilities through a comprehensive review of the academic and non-academic sources and test each password manager against all the previously disclosed vulnerabilities. We find a mixed picture of fixed and persisting vulnerabilities. Then we carry out systematic functionality tests on the considered password managers and find four new vulnerabilities. Notably, one of the new vulnerabilities we identified allows a malicious app to impersonate a legitimate app to two out of five widely-used password managers we tested and as a result steal the user's password for the targeted service. We implement a proof-of-concept attack to show the feasibility of this vulnerability in a real-life scenario. Finally, we report and reflect on our experience of responsible disclosure of the newly discovered vulnerabilities to the corresponding password manager vendors.

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