The Crackdown on Cracking

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So you think your password is strong? New technology allows hackers to bruteforce, or try all dictionary words and then try random combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols, much faster. Estimates now are that a bruteforcing program can do 17,179,869,184 passwords per hour!

So now do you think your password is tough? Most passwords these days ask that you provide at least six letters with some capitalization and numbers in it. Well let's pretend your password consists of 5 random lowercase letters, 2 random upper case letters, and 2 random numbers, the high efficiency programs will take under 24 hours to crack this. And don't get me started on passwords consisting of dictionary words! Currently the English language contains one billion words, but a bruteforcer can do eighteen times that many passwords in an hour and it will usually crack your password in less than seconds since you probably won't be using long medical terms as your password. It's estimated that 25% of passwords can be cracked in less than minutes. Mandylion Research Labs put together this cool excel file that can estimate just how long it would take to crack a password.

So what can you do? If you're really paranoid you can choose a password comprised of 10 purely random letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and special characters ( 65,315,679 days to crack). So, how can you make this kind of password? Well you can use the Ultra High Password Security Generator and copy only a part of the password generated. Also, be sure you don't just leave your password in a text file, put it in a highly encrypted storage program such as KeePass Password Safe. But, even then, if enough computers were used, then it would take a mere couple thousand of hours to computer your password, however it's unlikely anyone would do that.

What if you're on the other end of the spectrum and want to hack someone's password? Well, if you're the average computer user then you probably won't get very far. Although there is this nice guide by Russian Password Crackers that explains the background of it all. Not to mention the cost of most bruteforcing programs, but for those cheapskates there are excellent programs such as John the Ripper, Cain, and RainbowCrack (which works a bit differently).

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