Practical Password Recovery Attacks on MD4 Based Prefix and Hybrid Authentication Protocols

Yu SASAKI  Lei WANG  Kazuo OHTA  Kazumaro AOKI  Noboru KUNIHIRO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E93-A   No.1   pp.84-92
Publication Date: 2010/01/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1337
DOI: 10.1587/transfun.E93.A.84
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Cryptography and Information Security)
Category: Hash Function
challenge and response,  prefix,  hybrid,  password recovery attack,  local collision,  hash function,  MD4,  

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In this paper, we present practical password recovery attacks against two challenge and response authentication protocols using MD4. For attacks on protocols, the number of queries is one of the most important factors because the opportunity where an attacker can ask queries is very limited in real protocols. When responses are computed as MD4(Password||Challenge), which is called prefix approach, previous work needs to ask 237 queries to recover a password. Asking 237 queries in real protocols is almost impossible. In our attack, to recover up to 8-octet passwords, we only need 1 time the amount of eavesdropping, 17 queries, and 234 MD4 off-line computations. To recover up to 12-octet passwords, we only need 210 times the amount of eavesdropping, 210 queries, and 241 off-line MD4 computations. When responses are computed as MD4(Password||Challenge||Password), which is called hybrid approach, previous work needs to ask 263 queries, while in our attack, up to 8-octet passwords are practically recovered by 28 times the amount of eavesdropping, 28 queries, and 239 off-line MD4 computations. Our idea is guessing a part of passwords so that we can simulate values of intermediate chaining variables from observed hash values. This enables us to use a short local collision that occurs with a very high probability, and thus the number of queries becomes practical.