Daily Archives: September 20, 2009

NTLM authentication in PHP – Now with NTLMv2 hash checking

A few years ago, I investigated NTLM and PHP and managed to write a simple PHP script that can retrieve the current windows username. However, it was only partly finished as it did not authenticate the user. Inspired by a recent comment, I’ve decided to revisit this problem and solve the authentication issue. For the better part of the afternoon, I wrestled with the NTLMv2 hash checking as detailed here.

It turns out that NT passwords are stored as a MD4 hash of the UTF16LE password string. So once we have this hash, we can begin verifying passwords. Obtaining this hash for a user is relatively easy with Samba, but seems to pose a challenge on Windows. In a later blog post I will detail how to integrate PHP authentication with Samba. For now, the code will assume you have already obtained a database of your users MD4 hashed passwords.

The crux of the NTLMv2 authentication involves using HMAC-MD5 on challenges and nonces using the MD4 hashed password as the key. The result is a 150 line source code that perform authentication on clients supporting NTLMv2. On the support NTLMv2, Internet Explorer supports it fine. Firefox on the other hand only has limited support for NTLMv2. In Firefox on Windows, if you have whitelisted your server with network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris, Firefox will attempt to use Windows’ SSPI support (sys-ntlm) to perform single sign on. The SSPI module supports NTLMv2 fine. However, if you are using Firefox’s own cross platform NTLM module, you’re out of luck, it only supports the legacy NTLM and LM hashes. Perhaps it will support NTLMv2 in the future.

For Internet Explorer 8, intranet settings are now off by default, which means single sign on won’t automatically activate. To fix this, you should see a yellow bar prompting you whether to apply intranet settings.

The php ntlm authentication library is available here: PHP NTLM Github

To use it just put


function get_ntlm_user_hash($user) {
	$userdb = array('loune'=>'test', 'you'=>'gg', 'a'=> 'a');

	if (!isset($userdb[strtolower($user)]))
		return false;
	return mhash(MHASH_MD4, ntlm_utf8_to_utf16le($userdb[strtolower($user)]));

$auth = ntlm_prompt("testwebsite", "testdomain", "mycomputer", "testdomain.local", "mycomputer.local", "get_ntlm_user_hash");

if ($auth['authenticated']) {
	print "You are authenticated as $auth[username] from $auth[domain]/$auth[workstation]";

You need to provide your own implementation of the callback function get_ntlm_user_hash($user) which should return the MD4/Unicode hashed password of the requested $user. You can get that by doing mhash(MHASH_MD4, ntlm_utf8_to_utf16le("password")). You also need session_start() as the script needs to persist challenge information across http requests.

Next time, I will blog about the best way to integrate it with Samba on Linux.