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Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2011 04:02:05 +0400
From: Solar Designer <>
Subject: Re: CVE request: crypt_blowfish 8-bit character mishandling


I analyzed the impact of the crypt_blowfish bug more thoroughly.

Initially, I thought that only lengths n*4-1 and very large lengths were
at risk of easy collisions.  And, for small lengths, I estimated that
roughly 3 out of 16 passwords containing one 8-bit character were at risk.

After more thorough analysis, it turns out that other odd lengths are
also at risk, and that "very large" starts at length 20.  Thus, I have
to revise my "3 of 16" estimate.  The new estimate for risky passwords
with one 8-bit character is 30% for lengths up to 20 inclusive.  Like
before, this assumes uniform distribution of lengths and positions for
the 8-bit character, which is obviously not the case in practice, yet it
works as an estimate.

Lengths that are _not_ at risk: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18.
The rest are at risk (meaning that 8-bit chars in _some_ positions
result in 1 to 3 preceding chars being ignored).

I also analyzed the number of collisions seen on Russian words in koi8-r
and utf-8 encodings.  I used Russian wordlists found in the Openwall

After zcat'ing the wordlists together and removing comment lines, I got
97946 different lines.  Of those, a quick grep for [ -~] suggests that
1805 contain some regular ASCII characters, and a review of those shows
that they are indeed genuine Russian wordlist entries - geographical
names that contain more than one word (and thus contain spaces),
composite words with dashes, etc.  Anyhow, 1805 out of 97946 is not
many.  The rest are apparently 8-bit only.

I also converted the resulting file to utf-8 using:

iconv -f koi8-r -t utf-8

Then I ran a trivial program crypt()'ing every line, with the buggy
version of crypt_blowfish (below 1.1) and using the same salt.

This resulted in 70890 (72%) and 97213 (99%) unique hashes for koi8-r
and utf-8, respectively.

For koi8-r, 22 hashes are seen over 100 times each, with the top one
being seen 190 times.  For utf-8, the top hash (most common) is seen 4
times, then 84 hashes are seen 3 times each.

Thus, obviously the bug does cause collisions.  There are not as many of
those as some people might expect for nearly purely 8-bit inputs.
Yet the very common hashes for koi8-r are worrisome.  Even though if one
were to run the entire koi8-r wordlist against a bunch of hashes they'd
only achieve a 30% speedup due to the bug, if they focus on words
producing 22 top hashes - so they only try 22 words - they'd crack
around 3% of passwords based on randomly picked words from that list
(assuming uniform distribution of random word numbers).  For utf-8, this
risk is much lower: trying top 85 passwords (0.087% of candidates)
effectively tests 256 of them (0.26%).

The relative speedup may be worse for more complicated passwords.  Their
guessing entropy may be reduced to being not that much higher than that
of the simple wordlist passwords above.  A mitigating factor is that
those passwords contain at least some non-8-bit characters (digits,
spaces, punctuation), which would not overwrite any preceding characters
(but may be getting overwritten themselves, unfortunately).

I've attached two files - a list of affected {length, position}s with
their corresponding overwritten character positions, and the program
used to generate this list.  (Yes, this message is just below the size
threshold for this mailing list.)


View attachment "bugana-output.txt" of type "text/plain" (64630 bytes)

View attachment "bugana.c" of type "text/plain" (1035 bytes)

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