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September 20, 2011


Extracting and Cracking Mac OS X Lion Password Hashes [Updated]

The Defence in Depth blog has a post about a flaw in Lion’s redesigned authentication mechanisms and Directory Services. In short, it is possible to change the password of the currently logged in user by simply running the following command in the terminal, and it won’t ask you for the user’s current password:

$ dscl localhost -passwd /Search/Users/<username>

In Lion it is also easy to dump a user’s SHA-512 password hash using the following command:

$ dscl localhost -read /Search/Users/<username>

Then look for the dsAttrTypeNative:ShadowHashData chunk in the output (sample below). The hex string in red is the salt, and the green is the hash.

62706c69 73743030 d101025d 53414c54 45442d53 48413531 324f1044 74911f72 3bd2f66a 3255e0af 4b85c639 776d510b 63f0b939 c432ab6e 082286c4 7586f19b 4e2f3aab 74229ae1 24ccb11e 916a7a1c 9b29c64b d6b0fd6c bd22e7b1 f0ba1673 080b1900 00000000 00010100 00000000 00000300 00000000 00000000 00000000 000060

Cracking password hashes can be done using his custom Python script, or John the Ripper (with the Jumbo patch). Note that even if someone manages to obtain your password hash, if you’re using a strong password it will be extremely difficult for them to recover it. Seems like both of these are important but fairly low-risk flaws introduced into Lion. Hopefully Apple will look into these for the  next update.

[Update 1] While waiting for an Apple-supplied security update, it is possible to protect yourself from this vulnerability by adjusting the permissions on dscl:

sudo chmod go-x /usr/bin/dscl

This makes it so that only root can execute dscl. To revert this simply run:

sudo chmod go+x /usr/bin/dscl

[Update 2] This vulnerability was patched in Mac OS X 10.7.2.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Zac
    Jan 12 2013

    So it looks like this is back btw in 10.8.2 at least. No permission request at all.

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