The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a password is a random group of letters and numbers.
However, behind that randomness is a set of rules or a system that helps generate and store passwords.
This means that if you know the system, it is possible to crack any password.
Password cracking is the act of recovering or figuring out passwords from their encrypted form. The main goal of password crackers is to break the encryption on passwords and recover the plaintext version.
Understanding Password Cracking
Password cracking is an attack used to gain unauthorized access to accounts.
The key to success with password cracking is to guess a password that’s long enough to be secure, but short enough that it’s not trivial to guess.
Long passwords are harder to crack, but shorter passwords are easier to input.
Most password cracking is done on computers, but some password cracking tools have been used on mobile phones.
Password cracking attempts are repeated until the password is guessed.
There are three main methods of password cracking: brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, and rainbow tables.
Brute Force Attacks
Brute force attacks are the most basic form of password cracking. In short, you attempt to log in as many usernames and passwords as you can on a given network.
With today’s computing power, you can attempt millions of usernames and passwords per second. This attack, typically, works as follows:
- You choose a target domain and a list of usernames and passwords.
- You begin guessing usernames and passwords.
- You check to see if the account is unlocked.
- If the account is unlocked, you move on to the next one on your list.
This process can take hours to complete, depending on how much data you have and how fast you can guess.
Dictionary attacks are the simplest of all password cracking techniques.
For example, a password like Password1234 might be a dictionary attack since Password1234 is a 4-letter word.
Dictionary attacks can be averted by employing different techniques, such as using a password manager.
If your passwords are weak or you reused the same ones on multiple sites, the chances are high that your passwords have been cracked using rainbow tables.
Rainbow tables are a staple of password cracking. They’re enormous collections of passwords that hash out to be almost unreadable.
Once your password is hashed, it’s converted to a 32-character long and alphanumeric string.
It’s now a 32-character long string of letters and numbers.
However, rainbow tables can guess your password because your hash is a single character.
For example, if your password is “sohot,” the hash for your password would be “sohot.”
If you used a password like “sohot” on ten different sites, the chances are high that your password has been cracked using a rainbow table.
Rainbow tables are enormous collections of hashed passwords that hash out to be almost unreadable.
When a hash represents a password, it’s converted into a 32-character long and alphanumeric string.
Hybrid attacks involve a combination of more than one method. For example, many brute force attacks will first try dictionary attacks. If there is a match, they move to a hash or hash-based attack.
As passwords are hashed using a one-way algorithm, it’s impossible to de-hash a password. As passwords are hashes, it’s relatively easy for a brute force attack to guess a password using hash-based attacks.
Hybrid attacks can then combine dictionary attacks and hash-based attacks.
Normally, dictionary attacks are very fast. However, hash-based attacks can take a long time. By combining dictionary attacks and hash-based attacks, hybrid attacks can be as fast as brute force attacks. However, they are far more sophisticated, and difficult to spot.
Social engineering is the process of manipulating people by pretending to be someone else.
Hackers use social engineering to take advantage of their targets by pretending to be someone they’re not.
Stolen passwords are rarely the real passwords users use.
In reality, users don’t use the same password for multiple websites.
Instead, they use passwords like “password”, “123456”, or “qwerty”.
Hackers can use this information to create accounts on other websites.
They do this by pretending to be someone else.
Once the hacker has access, they can still use these passwords to access the user’s accounts.
This technique is known as password phishing.
Hackers use phishing emails, phone calls, text messages, and even in-person meetings to trick users into sharing sensitive information.
For example, a hacker can pretend to be a tech support representative and trick you into giving away your passwords.
Social engineering is often used to trick users into downloading malicious files.
Hackers use social engineering to trick users into thinking that clicking on a link or opening a file will be harmless.
Preventing Password Cracking
Your best defense against password cracking is to choose a strong password and change it often. However, even if you pick a password that is nearly impossible to crack, it’s possible that brute-force attacks will still succeed.
For this reason, you should enable two-factor authentication, or 2FA. When enabled, your username and password are only granted access to your account if both are available.
Additionally, you should use a password vault to store your passwords. Password vaults generate random, strong passwords for each service you log into.
Finally, you should always report any suspicious activity on your account, including password cracking attempts.
- Awesome Password-Cracking Tools
How Passwords Can Be Cracked?
There are many other methods for cracking passwords, including dictionary attacks, pattern-checking, word list substitution and word list substitution. This will reduce the number required trials and is usually attempted before brute force.
What Is Password Cracking Method Called?
Brute-force attack: A brute force attack exhaustively tries every combination of letters and numbers to crack a password. This is the easiest way to crack a password but it’s also the most inefficient, as it takes a lot of time and makes unlikely guesses.
What Is the Best Tool for Password Cracking?
Aircrack. RainbowCrack. THC Hydra. Cain and Abel Medusa. John The Ripper. ophCrack. WFuzz.
How Many Types of Password Cracking Are There?
There are two major types of password cracking methods: online and offline. Online attacks can be performed against a live host or system using brute-force, wordlist, or both.
How Do Hackers Get Hashed Passwords?
Hackers use leaked data to exfiltrate hashed passwords. Hacking becomes simple when there is a security breach in a company’s data.
Hopefully this guide for password cracking techniques was helpful for you.