Unknown incremental mode: LM_ASCII

LanManager is an obsolete hashing format used by older versions of Windows. It is extremely weak as it first splits the password into two 7 character blocks, uppercases and hashes these individually therefore drastically reducing the number of permutations. Storing LM hashes is a security vulnerability and should be addressed immediately by preventing Windows from storing LM Hash, and changing greater than the amount of password history stored to completely purge the old LM hashes.

One of the tools I use to crack test hashes is John the Ripper, however I recently encountered an error (probably due to my mangling of config files) when incrementing through the permutations using john (i.e without a wordlist).

Unknown incremental mode: LM_ASCII

In order to fix this error I added the following to my john.conf file:

File = $JOHN/lm_ascii.chr
MinLen = 0
MaxLen = 7
CharCount = 69

void filter()
 int i, c;
i = 0;
 while (c = word[i]) {
 if (c < 0x20 || c > 0x7e || // Require ASCII-only
 i >= 14) { // of up to 14 characters long
 word = 0; return;
 if (c >= 'a' && c <= 'z') // Convert to uppercase
 word[i] &= 0xDF;
word[7] = 0; // Truncate at 7 characters

I believe this should be there by default, however it caused me enough of a headache when i found it to be missing that I thought it worth a quick blog post for my future self. 🙂

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