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Managing deployed passwords

Posted on 2005-03-07
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Our application is built on top of a database.  So when it gets installed on a customer's machine, our application is the "DBA"--the only entity with full admin priviledges.  In the past I've stored DBA passwords within the application executable.  But I can easily find them by doing a search on these strings in a hex editor.  Of course, I can find it quickly because I know what I'm looking for.  Still, a dedicated person could find it with some effort.  

Another method I've used is to--rather than store it as a string--build it byte by byte using a function.  Could this solution still be easily cracked or is it fairly secure?

How can I effectively protect a password that needs to be deployed with an application?  If the answer is secret-key encryption, how would I protect the secret key?  And so on...

thanks
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Question by:kevinbenedict
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Rich Rumble earned 1200 total points
ID: 13478001
That can be a tough road to hoe... one-way hash's such as the way M$ stores the user passwords in the SAM database can be cracked very quickly nowadays, by using programs like RainBow Crack, all possible combinations can be written to a file, then searched for, and the pass is effectivly recovered in minutes.

If you can "pack" the executeable with a packer, then the pass would likely not be visible in a hex editor in the same fashion it is now. you can unpack the exe an then look for it to be sure. packers like UPX http://upx.sourceforge.net/ or even compressors like PEcompact http://www.collakesoftware.com/ there are encoders (not encrypters) that can help also...
http://www.woodmann.com/crackz/Packers.htm (good tutourials on cracking, what to do and not to do) http://woodmann.com/crackz/
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Programming/Packers-Crypters-Protectors/

I'm no programmer, or program hacker, but I've read a few books on the subject. This may be a better question on the DB or Programming foums of EE.
There seem to be no end to the packer,compressor,encrypter and encoding programs out there... http://www.ewoss.com/search.aspx?k=encryption+software&s=1
using google you can find many links to this software.
-rich
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