Cyrus saslauthd and passwords containing quote marks

Saturday, 11. 06. 2011  –  Category: sw

On the back of reading how affordable and powerful GPUs make for insanely fast brute-force software (eg: whitepixel2) I recently did a round of password strengthening, even for accounts that aren’t immediately vulnerable to 30 billion MD5s a second (yes!) attacks.

I then found then whenever I sent mail using authenticated SMTP my mail server would lock up with saslauthd chewing the CPU. This authentication daemon is the glue between the MTA (Exim) and the IMAP server (Courier) – it logs into the IMAP service to test the SMTP user’s credentials. This little kink of indirection comes about because the IMAP daemon is downstream from the Exim host, in a BSD jail host, so its own authentication mechanisms aren’t visible to the MTA.

My new mail password contained a double-quote mark, which made me wonder if the password wasn’t being quoted properly. Testing a bit with openssl:


$ openssl s_client -starttls smtp -connect localhost:25
CONNECTED(00000003)
---
250 HELP
EHLO localhost
250-svc9.zomo.co.uk Hello localhost [127.0.0.1]
250-SIZE 52428800
250-PIPELINING
250-AUTH PLAIN LOGIN
250 HELP
AUTH PLAIN AGZvbwAi < -- this is Base64 for username foo, password "

[ hang ]


Compiling a -g debug variant of the daemon and aiming gdb at it:

$ sudo gdb /usr/local/sbin/saslauthd-debug 97103
GNU gdb 6.1.1 [FreeBSD]
Copyright 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
...
(gdb) bt
#0  0x284250d1 in strchr () from /lib/libc.so.7
#1  0x0804a823 in qstring ()
#2  0x0804ac45 in auth_rimap ()
#3  0x0804f8e3 in do_auth ()
#4  0x0804e1f4 in do_request ()
#5  0x0804e53b in ipc_loop ()
#6  0x0805018d in main ()

What’s qstring()? It’s a function for escaping the quote marks in strings passed to the IMAP daemon. Turns out count-the-quotemark logic wasn’t properly advancing along the string, so it would sit there spinning forever.

Trivial patch1 fixes:


$ openssl s_client -starttls smtp -connect localhost:25
CONNECTED(00000003)
---
250 HELP
EHLO localhost
250-svc9.zomo.co.uk Hello localhost [127.0.0.1]
250-SIZE 52428800
250-PIPELINING
250-AUTH PLAIN LOGIN
250 HELP
AUTH PLAIN AGZvbwAi
535 Incorrect authentication data

Better :)

  1. Gist if it’s not inlined above []

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