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Cracking the Win95 screensaver password

Cracking the Windows 95 Screen Saver Password
Article Extracted from 2600 Magazine
Volume 13 #4

Defeating the Windows 95 Screensaver
by rdpzza

While many may consider this a trivial exercise, cracking
the password scheme for Win95 may be useful to some of 
you out there.  Some may even find ways to have phun with
it as well.

To start with, you need to know where to look.  In 3.1, the password was kept in 
the control.ini.  Although 95 also uses the control.ini, it does not use it for
keeping the password information.  Foe 95, you will have to look in each of
the user.dat files.  I say each because if you have multiple users, each user
may have a profile saved on the hard drive.  The default user.dat file is
in the \windows directory.  The other user.dat files can be found in the directory
\profiles\username where username changes.  As you may know, user.dat is one of the two
files used for the registry and its is very important.  User.dat will carry the attributes
"shr" so you will have to look accordingly.  Also, since it is so important, a backup is 
kept, namely user.da0.  This may be the previous user.dat, say when the user changed 

Anyway, now that you have the file, where is it?  If you scan the file for passowrd, you
will come up with the setting of whether or not the screen saver is password protected. 
This may be enough for you so you can just change it and be done.  While this little change
will be noticed, it will get you by the password.  If, however, you wish to actually find out
the what the pass phrase is, read on.

Why find out what the pass phrase is, you ask?  Because a lot of times users are stupid, 
lazy, have bad memory or any combination of these and reuse passwords or schemes any time a
key is needed.  This is especially true in network environments and even more so when 95 
is used as the workstation OS.  In such systems, there is the possibility of changing the 
logon password and the screen saver password at the same time.  I wonder how that can be

Back to finding out what the phrase is.  95 has been rumored to use dual case.  Let me 
clear this rumor.  It does not.  It uses the "all upper" coding for the password like 3.1.  
The maximum length of the screen saver password is 14 characters long.  It will allow
you to enter longer passwords, but 95 will act screwy; it won't require the password from
screen saver, it will hang, etc.

OK, so we have the file.  Look for the string "ScreenSaver_Data".  After this is an even
string of numbres and letters ending in 00.  THere is the encrypted pass phrase.  The 
pass phrase is different from 3.1 in that 95 uses what I call "encrypted-couplets" meaning
that for every character in the phrase, there are two encryption values.  The first 
encrypted couplet (EC) is the first hex digit of the unencrypted ascii value, and the second
EC is the second hex digit.  For example, say the first two hex digits after the string
"ScreenSaver_Data" are 31 41 (1A in ASCII). The 31 represents (after decryption) 5 and 
the 41, 2.  Put the digits together and you have 52h, R in ASCII.  Keep this concept in
mind while decoding the EC's because the decryption scheme is the same for each value, only
the key changes.

Example of Screen Saver EC's decoded to password.

1AAAA26473D28  <- code in the user.dat
RDPZZA <- Win95 SS password

Try it out.

Text file downloaded from the HackerZ Hideout @ www.hackersclub.com/km

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