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Microsoft Security Bulletin (MS99-056)
From: aleph1 () UNDERGROUND ORG (Aleph One)
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 18:28:42 -0800
The following is a Security Bulletin from the Microsoft Product Security
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Microsoft Security Bulletin (MS99-056)
Patch Available for "Syskey Keystream Reuse" Vulnerability
Originally Posted: December 16, 1999
Microsoft has released a patch that eliminates a vulnerability in Syskey, a
utility that provides additional protection for Microsoft(r) Windows NT(r)
password databases. The vulnerability allows a particular cryptanalytic
attack to be effective against Syskey, significantly reducing the strength
of the protection it offers. The patch eliminates the vulnerability and
restores strong protection to the password database.
Frequently asked questions regarding this vulnerability can be found
Syskey is a utility that strongly encrypts the hashed password information
in the SAM database in order to protect it against offline password
cracking attacks. However, Syskey reuses the keystream used to perform some
of the encryption. This significantly reduces the strength of the
protection it provides by enabling a well-known cryptanalytic attack to be
used against it.
A patch is available that eliminates the key reuse vulnerability and again
makes it computationally infeasible to mount a brute-force attack against
the SAM database when Syskey has been applied.
Affected Software Versions
- Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition
- Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
NOTE: Additional security patches are available at the Microsoft
Download Center (www.microsoft.com/downloads)
Please see the following references for more information related to this
- Microsoft Security Bulletin MS99-056: Frequently Asked Questions,
- Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article Q248183,
Syskey Utility Reuses Keystream,
(Note: It may take 24 hours from the original posting of this
bulletin for this KB article to be visible.)
- Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article Q143475,
Windows NT System Key Permits Strong Encryption of the SAM,
- Microsoft Security Advisor web site,
Obtaining Support on this Issue
This is a fully supported patch. Information on contacting Microsoft
Technical Support is available at
Microsoft acknowledges Bindview's RAZOR Security Team (www.bindview.com) for
bringing this issue to our attention.
- December 16, 1999: Bulletin Created.
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- Microsoft Security Bulletin (MS99-056) Aleph One (Dec 17)