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Pinterest has a deactivate my account function.

After user deactivates his account, he gets an email with Reactivate account link:

enter image description here

Here Reactivate button links to login form with username and password.

But is it OK to link user to login form? I think at that point of time web application shouldn't expect user to know password so it would be better to show a form with just Password and Password Confirmation:


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

After clicking Unlock my account user would be logged in. I don't see any security vulnerabilities in proposed approach if url to this form contains random unguessable token.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

An 'unguessable' token can always be brute forced. Also, you are emailing the user the link in the first place (which contains the secret reactivation link) - e-mail is hardly secure. These are the reasons Pinterest probably requires you to log back in with your old password (so, to answer your question, yes, you should force the user to log in in order restore their account).

Edit: see the time-sensitive vulnerability regarding password reset e-mails

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If strength of unguessable token is more than 128 bits, bruteforce won't give anything as all computers in the world aren't able to perform so many operations even if they will work tens of years – Andrei Botalov Mar 29 '13 at 19:10
Fine, but you are still emailing the token in plain text to the user over e-mail. – Joshua Barron Mar 29 '13 at 19:11
Email is used to send you a Forgot Password link that is sent in plain text – Andrei Botalov Mar 29 '13 at 19:11
Such e-mails generally expire after a short duration to limit the security vulnerability. The link sent via this e-mail is open to use indefinitely. – Joshua Barron Mar 29 '13 at 19:14

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