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Cracking 14 Character Complex Passwords in 5 Seconds

There has been a lot of talk recently in the security community about high speed GPU (video card) processors being able to crack passwords very quickly.

But there is a technology that can crack them even faster. A Swiss security company called Objectif Sécurité has created a cracking technology that uses rainbow tables on SSD drives.

Apparently it is the hard drive access time and not the processor speed that slows down cracking speed. So using SSD drives can make cracking faster, but just how fast?

One article in March of this year stated that the technique using SSD drives could crack passwords at a rate of 300 billion passwords a second, and could decode complex password in under 5.3 seconds. So, how long would a long complex password hold up to the SSD based cracking technology?  

Sounds like we need to put this to the test. Most hackers will crack passwords by decoding the password hash dumps from a compromised computer. So,  I pulled several 14 character complex passwords hashes from a compromised Windows XP SP3 test machine, to see how they would stand up to Objectif’s free online XP hash cracker. The results were stunning.

Let’s start out with an easy one. Here is the Administrator password hash from the machine:

aad3b435b51404eeaad3b435b51404ee:31d6cfe0d16ae931b73c59d7e0c089c0

And putting this into Objectif’s tool we get this response:

Password: Empty password…    
Time: 2 seconds

Administrator didn’t set a password, that’s not good…

Okay, that wasn’t 14 characters, let’s try a hard one.

How about this one:

Hash: 17817c9fbf9d272af44dfa1cb95cae33:6bcec2ba2597f089189735afeaa300d4

And the response:

Password: 72@Fee4S@mura!    
Time: 5 Seconds

Wow! that took only 5 seconds and that is a decent password.

Let’s try a few more:

Hash: ac93c8016d14e75a2e9b76bb9e8c2bb6:8516cd0838d1a4dfd1ac3e8eb9811350
Password: (689!!!<>”QTHp    
Time: 8 Seconds

Hash: d4b3b6605abec1a16a794128df6bc4da:14981697efb5db5267236c5fdbd74af6
Password: *mZ?9%^jS743:!    
Time: 5 Seconds (Try typing that in every day!)

And Finally:

Hash: 747747dc6e245f78d18aebeb7cabe1d6:43c6cc2170b7a4ef851a622ff15c6055
Password: T&p/E$v-O6,1@}    
Time: Okay, this one really pushed it to the limits, it took a whole 11 seconds to crack!
(* Ran it through a second time later on and it got it in 3 seconds!)

Very impressive, it took only five to eleven seconds in this test to crack 14 character complex passwords. I was able to create a password that Objectif’s site couldn’t decode; it was using characters from the extended ASII set. But, unfortunately, I could not log into the XP system using it either. 

Want to see how a password would do without having to exploit a system and dump the password hashes? Objectif allows you to put a password in and it will convert it for you. Then you can place the hash into the cracker and see how it does.

Granted, these are Windows LM Hashes and not the more secure Windows 7/ Server 2008 NTLM based hashes. But, I believe that with cracking speeds increasing, relying on passwords alone may no longer be a good security measure. Many companies and government facilities are moving away from using just passwords to dual authentication methods. Biometrics and smartcards are really becoming popular in secure facilities. 

And if the rumors are true, it looks like Microsoft may include facial recognition authentication in the next version of Windows. Time to dust off the old Web Cam…

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