[TOOL] CacheDump - Recovering Windows Password Cache Entries

From: SecuriTeam (support_at_securiteam.com)
Date: 05/19/05

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    Date: 19 May 2005 16:28:02 +0200

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      CacheDump - Recovering Windows Password Cache Entries



    CacheDump will create a CacheDump NT Service to get SYSTEM right and make
    his stuff on the registry. Then, it will retrieve the LSA Cipher Key to
    decrypt (rc4/hmac_md5 GloubiBoulga) cache entries values. A John The
    Ripper module has been developed to attack the hashed values that are
    retrieved ( timing equivalent to MD4( MD4( password|U(username) ) ).

    Download Information:
     * The tool's source can be obtained from:
    http://www.cr0.net:8040/misc/cachedump-1.1.zip and at:
     * The <http://www.cr0.net:8040/misc/john-1.6.37-bigpatch-11.diff.gz>
    john bigpatch adds support for a wide range of password hashes to John the
    Ripper 1.6.37. Among other, it allows offline brute forcing of Windows
    Cache (mscash) password entries.

    Users authenticate themselves on a Domain Controller (DC) using
    NTLM/NTLMv2. However the DC sometimes goes offline or the network cable is
    unplugged; in this situation, the Local Security Authority System Service
    (LSASS) uses password cache entries from the registry to perform offline

    Description of the Authentication Process:
    The WINLOGON process displays the msgina dialog and prompts for the
    username, password and domain. The authentication process itself is
    handled by LSASS:
    WinLogon ---> LSASS ---> LSASRV -> MSV1_0 -> [Registry Cache Entries]
    The most important part of the authentication process happens in
    MSV1_0.dll. LSASS calls the LSAApLogonUserEx2 function which first checks
    if the DC is unavailable; in this case, it attempts to match the password
    entered by the user against the cached password.

    The cache entries do not include the authentication credentials in the
    an LSA key is used to decrypt them. Credentials are stored in:
    HKLM\SECURITY\CACHE\NL$n with n ranging between 1 and 10. The default ACL
    does not allow Administrators to read these registry values, which can
    only be accessed with SYSTEM privileges.

    The size of these values may differ but they are roughly composed of 4
                      MD CH T EDATA
    NL$ = [ metadata in the clear ][ Text ][ Text ][ Encrypted Data ]
                    64 bytes 16 Bytes 16 bytes > 100 bytes
     * MD contains several informations about elements of the cache entry
    structure, such as the username size in the first 2 bytes.
     * CH is an array of 16 random(?) bytes used to generate a RC4 key.
     * EDATA contains encrypted authentication credential: username (unicode),
    domain name (unicode), NT-hash, LM-hash (optional). It can be decrypted
    using the decrypted LSA secret NL$KM. specific to each computer.

    EDATA is decrypted by performing these steps:
    0. LSA keyB = DES( NL$KM, static in-memory LSA keyA )
    1. RC4 keyC = HMAC_MD5( LSA keyB, CH )
    2. DATA = RC4( EDATA, RC4 keyC );

    DATA contains the following informations:
     * [ 96, 102 ] : MSCASH = MD4( MD4(password ) || lowercase(username) )
     * [ 168, 168 + username_length * 2 ] : username
     * [ 168 + username_length * 2 + 2, ... ] : domain name
    The password hash is salted with the unicode username.

    The CacheDump Tool:
    CacheDump, licensed under the GPL, demonstrates how to recover cache entry
    information: username and MSCASH. Administrators or security consultants
    are welcomed to use this program; malicious users can't do anything with
    it as
    long as they do not have Administrator privileges.
    CacheDump does not rely on the dll-injection method used in pwdump or
    lsadump2; it creates a NT service on the fly in order to read the static
    LSA key from LSASS.EXE's process memory, and deciphers the cache entries
    to expose the MSCASH values.
    CacheDump's output is similar to pwdump's, with of course a different hash
    function; a plugin for john the ripper password cracker has been developed
    for offline dictionnary and bruteforce cracking.

    John The Ripper plugin:
    1 - Prerequisites
    This plugin for John the Ripper should work on all architectures supported
    by the cracker. It will run on most unices. Under Microsoft Windows, it
    will only work under Cygwin.

    2 - Installation
    Patch John the Ripper version 1.6.37:
    wget http://www.openwall.com/john/b/john-1.6.37.tar.gz
    tar xfz john-1.6.37.tar.gz
    gunzip -c john-1.6.37.mscash.x.gz | patch -p0

    Then build john as usual:
    cd john-1.6.37/src/

    Installing John is a bit tricky. Version 1.6.37 of John does not include
    documentation and charset files. Configuring John is beyond the scope of
    this document. However, you can apply the patch from:
    It features numerous additionnal hashes, and the produced binary should
    "play nice" with other John packages from the Debian distribution or other

    3 - Usage
    John expects the CacheDump output file format. Usernames and hashed
    passwords should be separated by ':', and there should only be one
    username/password couple by line. The format MUST be specified on the
    command line:
    /john -format:mscash file.txt

    4 - Technical details
    This patch is invasive. John's current framework does not provide support
    for hashes algorithms that rely on the username to salt the password
    hashes. Many core files have been patched and there could be various side
    effects; this patch has only been tested on Linux/i686.

    5 - Example
    Cachedump: c:\cachedump.exe

    Copy the result in mscash.txt
    c:\cachedump.exe -v
    Service not found. Installing CacheDump Service (C:\cachedump.exe -s)
    CacheDump service successfully installed.
    Service started.
    Service currently active. Stopping service...
    Service successfully removed.

    John Plugin:
    $ ./john -format:mscash ./mscash.txt
    Loaded 1 password hash (M$ Cache Hash [mscash])
    password (user)

    In order to prevent a malicious user from recovering cached passwords, we
    recommend to:
    Revoke local administrator privileges from all users;
    Reduce the number of cached password. Change to 1 the following registry


    The information has been provided by <mailto:pilon[@]off-by-one.net>
    Arnaud Pilon.
    To keep updated with the tool visit the project's homepage at:


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