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Date: Tue, 12 Jul 2011 16:58:10 +0200
From: Ludwig Nussel <>
Subject: Re: CVE request: crypt_blowfish 8-bit character mishandling

Solar Designer wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 04:39:08PM +0200, Ludwig Nussel wrote:
>> Solar Designer wrote:
>>> [...]
>>> Also, it brings up the question: why merely use $2a$ running the new
>>> code rather than fully emulate the bug even for newly set passwords,
>>> which would make all passwords work, even on other networked machines?
>>> Sure, that would be even nastier for security, so maybe you managed to
>>> strike a balance well.  But nevertheless the question is there.  One of
>>> your options results in full backwards compatibility at a security cost
>>> (for the local system), but the other somehow chooses to strike a
>>> balance between compatibility and security without achieving either of
>>> these fully (for a network of systems).
>>> Maybe you can afford to drop BLOWFISH_2y to avoid those inconsistencies?
>>> I imagine that people won't know to enable this option unless/until they
>>> have already run into an issue anyway (that is, someone is already
>>> unable to log in).  At this point, they could likely upgrade the rest of
>>> their networked systems as well... or downgrade this one. ;-(
>> I'm not sure I understand what you are suggesting.
> I am not exactly suggesting anything specific as I don't know your
> priorities, but I point out the inconsistency.
> My preference would be that you don't implement that BLOWFISH_2y option -
> always have new hashes generated as 2y, even though this means that
> networked systems need to be upgraded to new package versions in sync.

The default would be to use 2y by default. The option would be there
as last resort only.

>> Keep using the buggy
>> algorithm for new passwords and keep storing them as 2a
> I'd be unhappy about that, but it's a valid option to provide if you
> want to minimize user annoyance, including for networked systems that
> are not upgraded in sync (but are manually configured for this...)

The fourth possibility would be to use the 2y algorithm and store as
2a. That would be the better option if non-ASCII passwords are


  (o_   Ludwig Nussel
SUSE LINUX Products GmbH, GF: Jeff Hawn, Jennifer Guild, Felix 
Imend├Ârffer, HRB 16746 (AG N├╝rnberg)

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