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Owl Intranet Engine: Information Disclosure and Unsalted Password Hashes

The Owl Intranet Engine uses no salting in the password hashing procedure. Furthermore, users in the “Administrators” group are able to see the MD5 password hashes of every user using the web interface.


  • Product: Owl Intranet Engine
  • Affected Versions: 1.01, possibly all older versions
  • Fixed Versions: none
  • Vulnerability Type: Information Disclosure, Unsalted Password Hashes
  • Security Risk: low
  • Vendor URL:
  • Vendor Status: decided not to fix
  • Advisory URL:
  • Advisory Status: published
  • CVE URL:


“Owl is a multi user document repository (knowledge base) system written in PHP for publishing files/documents onto the web for a corporation, small business, group of people, or just for yourself.”

(From the vendor’s homepage)

More Details

The administrative interface of the Owl Intranet Engine allows users in the “Administrators” group to edit user accounts over the “Users&Groups” tab. If a user is selected for editing, all account information is shown. In this overview, the password field is filled with the MD5 hash value of the old user password, as can be seen in the HTML sources. This allows users with administrative access to the Owl Intranet Engine to see the password hashes of every user.

Furthermore, no salting is used when the password hashes are generated, allowing a rainbow tables attack against user passwords.



Security Risk

This vulnerability allows administrative users to collect the MD5 password hashes of every user of the affected Owl Intranet Engine system through the administrative interface. Because no salting is employed, a rainbow tables attack can be run against the collected password hashes and the password values can possibly be recovered in a short time. The risk potential is however deemed to be low, as users with administrative access to the OWL Intranet Engine already have extensive access rights.


  • 2011-05-29 Vulnerability identified
  • 2011-07-26 Customer approved disclosure to vendor
  • 2011-10-31 Vendor notified
  • 2011-11-30 Vendor releases new version that does not fix the issue
  • 2011-12-15 Advisory released

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