Default encrypted passwords = yes?

Steve Langasek vorlon at
Thu Sep 27 07:42:06 GMT 2001

On Thu, 27 Sep 2001, James Nord wrote:

> well just my 2cents...

> I have just finished giving a lecture about security in system
> administratrion.  One of the things I said to the students was the following
>     "If it uses unencrypted passwords over the network get rid of it and
> replace it with an encrytped equivellent"

Which is all well and good, except that Microsoft's approach to 'encrypted
passwords' requires storing a database of plaintext-equivalent passwords (IOW,
'unencrypted' for all intents and purposes) on a server that's connected to
the network.  Security is inversely proportional to convenience, and the more
use you get out of the server that the password database sits on, the more
danger there is of someone being able to steal your whole password database at
once.  With NT4 of course, the default OS has practically no facilities for
remote administration, rendering in rather inconvenient -- and consequently
relatively secure.  On Unix, OTOH, one must keep in mind that every network
service running on a Samba PDC is another potential hole that an attacker
could use to get at that smbpasswd database.

Steve Langasek
postmodern programmer

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