I ran metasploit's smart_hashdump module against my (2008r2) domain controllers, trying to find any accounts that may still have lanman hashes in place. These should have been disabled long ago. I'm just doing some cleanup before this years penetration testing and I wanted to find anything that had been missed.

I'm a bit confused by the output I'm seeing. All of my accounts have exact same hash in that column - aad3bb43....404ee.

I've seen a couple references to hashes beginning with aad3b43 being blank, but nothing about all these hashes being identical.

I take it that this value corresponds to some kind of internal 'disabled' state? I just want to be sure I'm understanding what I'm viewing.


@Izsi -

The 7 null bytes describes exactly what I'm seeing.
We've long since had the lan man authentication level set to 5 and the don't use lm at next password change set so it isn't a matter of having no password set, or even a problem with a few users using short passwords.

I mostly wanted to be sure that the uniformity was intentional. I work with password hashes fairly regularly and almost never see duplicate entries. It just plain looked weird. I didn't think about the lm hash not using a salt and a fixed password always returning the same value. Makes perfect sense now. Thanks a ton.

  • It makes me very sad that we are still dealing with the specter of LANMAN hashes given that the last OS that required them (Windows 95) went out of support on December 31, 2001. (Even Win98 supports NTLMv2 with patches) Jun 17, 2014 at 1:47

1 Answer 1


The LM hash does not use a salt, and therefore any identical passwords will have identical hash values.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the LM hash doesn't process the password as a whole. Instead, it null-pads it to 14 characters (if needed), then splits that value into 7-character chunks and hashes each before sticking them back together. Thus, if the first 7 characters are identical to the last 7, the first 8 bytes of the LM hash will match the last 8.

The LM hash value for 7 null characters is AAD3B435B51404EE. Therefore a password less than 8 characters long will end with AAD3B435B51404EE, and an empty password will always (since LM hashing doesn't use salt) be exactly AAD3B435B51404EEAAD3B435B51404EE.

There is one more caveat, however. LM hashing does not at all support passwords of 15 characters or greater. When this is encountered, the user may receive a prompt asking them to confirm they want to use a password that will be incompatible with older (LM hash dependent) software. Then, the system will store a null LM hash for that user. I personally recommend that people use 15+ characters in their passwords for precisely this reason.

So, it is possible that those accounts you're looking at have completely empty passwords. In that case, those users probably deserve a stern talking to. It's also possible (and perhaps more likely) that those accounts are actually using longer passwords than most others, which should be applauded!

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