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MS-CHAP is the Microsoft version of the Challenge-Handshake Authentication Protocol, CHAP. The protocol exists in two versions, MS-CHAPv1 (defined in RFC 2433) and MS-CHAPv2 (defined in RFC 2759). MS-CHAPv2 was introduced with Windows NT 4.0 SP4 and was added to Windows 98 in the "Windows 98 Dial-Up Networking Security Upgrade Release"[1] and Windows 95 in the "Dial Up Networking 1.3 Performance & Security Update for MS Windows 95" upgrade. Windows Vista dropped support for MS-CHAPv1.

MS-CHAP is used as one authentication option in Microsoft's implementation of the PPTP protocol for virtual private networks. It is also used as an authentication option with RADIUS[2] servers which are used for WiFi security using the WPA-Enterprise protocol. It is further used as the main authentication option of the Protected Extensible Authentication Protocol (PEAP).

Compared with CHAP,[3] MS-CHAP:[4][5]

  • is enabled by negotiating CHAP Algorithm 0x80 (0x81 for MS-CHAPv2) in LCP option 3, Authentication Protocol
  • provides an authenticator-controlled password change mechanism
  • provides an authenticator-controlled authentication retry mechanism
  • defines failure codes returned in the Failure packet message field

MS-CHAPv2 provides mutual authentication between peers by piggybacking a peer challenge on the Response packet and an authenticator response on the Success packet.


Several weaknesses have been found in MS-CHAPv2, some of which severely reduce the complexity of brute-force attacks making them feasible with modern hardware.[6][7]

MS-CHAP and MS-CHAPv2 uses the same weak 56-bit DES encryption as NTLMv1 to encrypt the NTLM password hash. 56-bit encryption had been well known as weak for years, but CloudCracker now provides a service targeted at cracking this weak DES encryption.[8]

See also[edit]