Where are the passwords stored? In the security database in NT. Sometimes referred to as the SAM (security account manager). In \Windows-directory\system32\config\SAM File is usually world readable, however it is not accessible when the system is running because it is locked by the system kernel. Copy of it may usually be found in Windows- directory\repair\SAM._ (rdisk run with /s argument) then expand it –expand sam._ sam For UNIX/Linux, passwords stored in /etc/passwd or /etc/shadow. Passwords should always be stored in encrypted format, why? What are the steps then in validating a correct password?
NT Password cracking SAM file has two separately hashed versions of the password -- the LanMan version and the NT version. LanMan is the weak method and can easily be cracked. It separates the password into two 7 character parts. Thus you really only have to crack two separate 7 character passwords instead of a 14 character password. It also converts lower case characters to upper case. Because of poor hashing technique, for NT, a 10 character password is actually potentially less secure than a 7 character the second half (last 3 characters) will quickly be cracked and then may provide clue for first part, ex: *******890
So what’s the problem with splitting it in two? Let’s assume lower case characters and numbers only (thus 36 possibilities). If the password can be only 7 characters then (36 Characters) 7 characters in length = 7.8X10 10 choices If we instead had 14 character passwords (36 Characters) 14 characters in length = 6.1X10 21 choices Or, if split in two 2* (7.8X10 10 )=1.56X10 11 choices
(cont) If I can try 1,000,000,000 passwords per day: With two 7 character passwords it would take 156 days to crack any password With one 14 character password it would take 6.1X10 12 days or 1.67X10 10 years to crack any password.
Salts Another issue with NT passwords is the fact that “salts” are not used. A salt is a random string that is combined with a password before it is encrypted. Used because two people who have the same password would normally have them encrypted to the same value. When the user enters a new password, the system first combines the password with the salt and then computes the hashed value. The system stores both the hash and the salt with the ID When a user attempts to authenticate, the system looks up the salt, combines it with the password entered, hashes it, then compares it with the stored value. Without a salt, the hacker only has to compute the hash once for any given password and then compare it with the stored values.
Programs to crack NT passwords L0phtcrack NTSweep NTCrack
UNIX password cracking Generally harder than NT to crack. 3-step process used by cracking programs create file of possible passwords (dictionary file) Encrypt file of possible passwords Compare results with encrypted form of passwords Obvious why it is harder to guess if you don’t use simple words. Dictionary created must include combinations of words with various connectors There are different dictionaries for different environments/countries.
UNIX Password Encryption UNIX uses an encryption algorithm called crypt to encrypt passwords. Crypt is a hash algorithm that performs a one-way transformation. There is thus no way to decrypt a password that has been encrypted with crypt Each encrypted password is 11 characters and is combined with a 2-character salt.
UNIX Password Crackers CRACK John the Ripper XIT Slurpie
Protecting against Cracking Have a good password policy Change them on regular basis (how regular?) Lock account after 3 failed attempts Password should contain 1 alpha, 1 number, and one special character. Don’t allow users to reuse previous (5?) passwords. Password should not be word found in a dictionary. - Consider using pass-phrase. Consider use of one-time passwords (most common form is smart-card).
Password Cracking Lab Two password files, one for NT, one for Unix. Linux shadow file NT Sam file Needed to locate, choose, and download password crackers Needed to install programs and let them run You will probably did not get all of the passwords cracked.