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Is it possible to use MD5 password encryption to encrypt passwords when using Postfix / SASL and MySQL? Currently, my setup is using the MySQL CRYPT() function, which for various reasons isn't ideal.

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technically MD5 is a hash, not an encryption. encryption implies decryption, which is exactly what hashing algorithms don't do. – quack quixote Dec 6 '09 at 14:35
up vote 4 down vote accepted

yes it is possible.

I guess you are using libpam-mysql. There is an option you can set named crypt.

auth       optional user=username passwd=password verbose=0 db=thedb table=user usercolumn=userName  passwdcolumn=userPassword crypt=3
account       required user=username passwd=password verbose=0 db=thedb table=user usercolumn=userName  passwdcolumn=userPassword crypt=3

you can also use auth required

Then crypt yout Passwords with MD5 in mysql.

You can find the docu in the readme und /usr/share/doc/libpam-mysql

I quote a part:

crypt (plain)

The method to encrypt the user's password:

   0 (or "plain") = No encryption.  Passwords stored in plaintext.
                    HIGHLY DISCOURAGED.

   1 (or "Y")     = Use crypt(3) function.

   2 (or "mysql") = Use MySQL PASSWORD() function. It is possible
                    that the encryption function used by PAM-MySQL
                    is different from that of the MySQL server, as
                    PAM-MySQL uses the function defined in MySQL's
                    C-client API instead of using PASSWORD() SQL
                    function in the query.

   3 (or "md5")   = Use plain hex MD5

In saslauthd config file in debian you have to set,


dont know how to set it in another distribution, bur the process have to be startet like this.

/usr/sbin/saslauthd -a pam

But I guess you already have that.

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Additional note: You won't be able to use shared secret password mechanisms like CRAM-MD5 or DIGEST-MD5 with encrypted (or better: hashed) passwords in your database. You can only use plaintext mechanisms like LOGIN or PLAIN. But since you have been using CRYPT() to encrypt passwords in your user database, you probably haven't used those shared secret mechanisms at all. – joschi Nov 6 '09 at 0:29
This feels 100% correct. However, after making this change, it seems crypt(3) is still being used. Is there a need to somehow reload the PAM configuration? If no, is there a way to determine whether or not the correct configuration is being used? – Fillthee Nov 6 '09 at 0:40
yes, if your passwords are still in "crypt" form in your mysql table, then you should not be able to login. To get additional info, turn on verbose=1 an look into /var/log/auth.log or something similar at your system. I hope I understood you correctly and your question focused on the right thing. Your Password in the mysql table have to be MD5 like now. You must ensure, that the backend which controlls the password generation is set to md5. crypt is a general program/function to encrypt things, crypt is not bad at all, only the mechanism "crypt" is relativly weak. – evildead Nov 6 '09 at 9:54
and again, you have to make two entries in the pam configuration. I added it to the answer itself. look above. – evildead Nov 6 '09 at 10:00
To be clear, after following your instruction, I cannot authenticate with MD5 encrypted passwords, and can still authenticate with CRYPT()'d passwords. Of course I made sure to change the database values to MD5 hashes. :) I'll try setting the verbose option and checking those logs (I've as of yet been checking only mail.log). Lastly, both of those options are set in the pam config (have been). Thank you very much for walking me through this. I'll post back when I've got more info. – Fillthee Nov 6 '09 at 21:57

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