Home page logo

oss-sec logo oss-sec mailing list archives

Re: OpenBSD bcrypt error return
From: Solar Designer <solar () openwall com>
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2012 04:09:50 +0400

Christos Zoulas has fixed the issue below in NetBSD (for NetBSD 6).
There are also some related updates to the crypt.3 man page that are not
yet seen via NetBSD's CVSweb (but are available via anoncvs).

The approach now taken in NetBSD is to have the underlying functions (in
bcrypt.c and others) return NULL on error, to rename what used to be
crypt() to static __crypt(), and to create crypt() as a wrapper around
it that turns NULL returns into either "*0" or "*1":

char *
crypt(const char *key, const char *salt)
        char *res = __crypt(key, salt);
        if (res)
                return res;
        /* How do I handle errors ? Return "*0" or "*1" */
        return __UNCONST(salt[0] == '*' && salt[1] == '0' ? "*1" : "*0");

The man page now says:

     The behavior of crypt() on errors isn't well standardized.  Some imple-
     mentations simply can't fail (unless the process dies, in which case they
     obviously can't return), others return NULL or a fixed string.  Most
     implementations don't set errno, but some do.  Version 2 of the Single
     UNIX Specification (``SUSv2'') specifies only returning NULL and setting
     errno as a valid behavior, and defines only one possible error (ENOSYS,
     ``The functionality is not supported on this implementation.'') Unfortu-
     nately, most existing applications aren't prepared to handle NULL returns
     from crypt().  The description below corresponds to this implementation
     of crypt() only.  The behavior may change to match standards, other
     implementations or existing applications.

     crypt() may only fail (and return) when passed an invalid or unsupported
     setting, in which case it returns a pointer to a magic string that is
     shorter than 13 characters and is guaranteed to differ from setting.
     This behavior is safe for older applications which assume that crypt()
     can't fail, when both setting new passwords and authenticating against
     existing password hashes.

(This is based on the crypt(3) man page I wrote for Owl many years ago.)

It also says:

     Before NetBSD 6 crypt() returned either NULL or : on error.

On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 08:20:29AM +0400, Solar Designer wrote:
On Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 07:14:17AM +0400, Solar Designer wrote:
The bcrypt implementation from OpenBSD, now also found in FreeBSD and
NetBSD, returns a constant string on error.


Oh, and of course it is also in DragonFly:


static char    error[] = ":";

Clearly, ":" can't match a field value in an /etc/passwd-like file,
which is great, but what happens if one of those errors occurs when
setting a new password?  Luckily, the specific errors being checked for
have to do with unsupported or invalid salt strings, so they can't
happen on a properly configured system.  Nevertheless, this may be a
disaster waiting to happen - e.g., if a new "$2" prefix is introduced
(like I did when dealing with the crypt_blowfish bug), support for it is
added to a password-changing program, but an appropriate update to libc
or libcrypt is not yet deployed on a system.

Thus, to avoid this disaster, this poor way of handling errors may also
get in the way of adding support for such extra "$2" prefixes on *BSD,
unfortunately.  This is something I forgot about when deciding on those
this summer, even though I was aware of this issue in OpenBSD since 1998
or so.

Yes, I did report this issue to OpenBSD folks at least twice - last time
this summer, after it was independently discovered by Zefram.

Maybe FreeBSD and/or NetBSD will want to patch it, or at least to be
aware of the risk - hence the posting in here.

The fix may be to reuse the approach from crypt_blowfish:

int _crypt_output_magic(const char *setting, char *output, int size)
    if (size < 3)
            return -1;

    output[0] = '*';
    output[1] = '0';
    output[2] = '\0';

    if (setting[0] == '*' && setting[1] == '0')
            output[1] = '1';

    return 0;

This may be done in bcrypt.c or in wrapper code common for all crypt(3)
hash types.

Proactive security, anyone?


  By Date           By Thread  

Current thread:
  • Re: OpenBSD bcrypt error return Solar Designer (Jan 02)
[ Nmap | Sec Tools | Mailing Lists | Site News | About/Contact | Advertising | Privacy ]