Password stealing

There has been some press lately about the University of California, Santa Barbara having assumed control of a Torpig botnet. They've put out a report, and it has been getting some attention. There is some good stuff in there, but I wanted to highlight one specific thing.

The Ars Technica review of it says it pretty directly:
The researchers noted, too, that nearly 40 percent of the credentials stolen by Torpig were from browser password managers, and not actual login sessions
The 'browser password managers' are the password managers built in to your browser-of-choice for the ease of logging in to sites. I have personally never, ever used them because the idea of saving my passwords like that gives me the creeps. Even if it is AES encrypted. However, the way to attack those repositories is not through grabbing the file it is through the browser itself. File-level security is only part of the game, even if it is the easiest to secure.

This extends to other areas as well. I exceedingly rarely click the, "remember this password," button in anything I'm on. This includes things like the Gnome keyring. That kind of thing is not a good idea in general.

The closest I get is a text-file on one of these (now with linux support!), and even that is a compromise between having to memorize a lot of cryptographically secure passwords (long AND complex) and a least wince-worthy memory jogging method. I can still describe several attack methods that could compromise that file, not the least of which is a clipboard/keylogger, or even a simple file-sniffer running in the background that drives through any mounted USB sticks. But... for long work passwords I'll use maybe four or five times a year, but still have to know, it's a compromise.

There are still some passwords I'll never write down outside of a password field. Such as the god passwords, any password I use on a daily or even weekly basis (I use those often enough for true memorization), or passwords used for any kind of financial transaction. For those kinds of high-value passwords, convenience of memory prosthetics doesn't enter in to it.