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Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2013 16:30:07 -0500 (CDT)
From: Steve Thomas <>
Subject: Re: [PHC] Password Hashing done wrong on CISCO IOS

> On March 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM Yann Droneaud <> wrote:
> Hi,
> Reported by H-Online
> "Weakened password hashing found in Cisco devices"
> "The algorithm was incorrectly implemented in version 15 of Cisco's IOS
> operating system, so that instead of using an 80-bit "salt" value, it
> used none, and instead of an intended 1000 iterations through SHA256, it
> used only one."
> What can be worst ? :/
> Regards.
> --
> Yann Droneaud

They either have a bad PR team or they don't know how to write code and have no
quality control. They should just say "we messed up, but seriously what is your
other option to Cisco". Hmm maybe I should never go into PR. If anything they
will get more business because of this. Hopefully they will start posting
implementation details and test vectors of the algorithm before they switch.

< sarcasm>
What really happened is they saw this blog post
( or one of the many stories on
it. They had a meeting that went like this "MD5 is broken OK... SHA256. It's got
a big number 256 vs 5. That's like 50 times larger. Then the CSO points to
someone in the room and says 'you implement it and deprecate MD5'."

Or maybe they did just call the wrong function twice and have a dumb
implementation handy. I always have orphan code in my programs to create and
test unsalted base64 encoded SHA256.
< /sarcasm>

This is a design choice because PBKDF2 with round count of 1 is not SHA256 it's
HMAC SHA256. So PBKDF2 and HMAC were never called just SHA256. If this was some
coding error then that's a huge mistake.
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