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Password sometimes referred to as passcode is the first line of defense to effectively stay protected against cybercriminals. Moreover, it protects from financial fraud and identity theft. Therefore, for better security using a random password generator is recommended.
But even after all this, systems are regularly compromised via password cracking.
What is Password Cracking?
It is the process of guessing the correct password to an account in an unauthorized way using an algorithm or common passwords. Password cracking involves various techniques like comparing stored passwords or using an algorithm to generate passwords that will match.
Not only this cybercriminals even use records obtained from the data breach to crack user accounts.
In this tutorial, we will discuss various password cracking techniques used by threat actors and how to stay protected from them:
Password Cracking techniques
Password Cracker Tools
Protective measures to stay protected from Password Cracking
Password Cracking Techniques
Attackers use various techniques to crack passwords. We will discuss the most common ones in this article:
This one is the most common method used by threat actors. In a dictionary attack, cybercriminals use a file containing words that can be found in dictionary and are common passwords. In other words, in a dictionary attack, criminals use documents that have all the common words used by people to create their passwords.
Brute Force Attack:
Like a dictionary attack, the brute force attack is also a favorite password cracking technique used by cybercriminals. Here hackers instead of using simple words, use all possible alphanumeric character combinations. Brute force attacks are very time consuming as criminals have to use different combinations one by one but eventually they crack the password.
Rainbow Table Attack
Instead of comparing passwords directly and then comparing its hash to crack a password, in rainbow table attack a per-compiled table is used. This table is used to recover the hash. Each rainbow table attack contains a well-defined set of characters. This technique reduces the time involved in guessing a password.
Why take all this pain when there’s an easy way to get the password: simply ask the user for their passwords. Cybercriminals send phishing emails that redirect users to fake websites to trick them into entering their personal information and other important details. This page them skims the passwords and hackers get what they wanted via a phishing attack.
This password cracking technique gives phishing attacks think outside the box concept. In Social Engineering, attackers pose as tech guys or representatives of a genuine organization and ask victims to share network access passwords and other important information. This social engineering trick works as victims usually share all the information.
Malware is malicious software that steals information from the user’s system and sends it to criminals. Malware can be installed on the user’s system using various methods and once it is installed it starts stealing the information.
Offline Password Cracking
Assuming you are safe when you are locked out of the system after entering an incorrect password three or four times would have been true if there was no offline password cracking method. This method takes place offline, using a set of hashes in a password file. Once criminals have access to these files they start password cracking on their own machine using this method.
Keylogger is a type of a malicious program which tracks all the keystrokes of the user’s system. Everything that the user type will be recorded and then sent to the attackers.
Guessing The Passwords
The most simple technique to hack a password is guessing it. Criminals take note of the user’s activity to guess passwords, this technique only works when users have not used any password creating software.
In addition to these methods, hackers use Password Cracking tools to illegally access your account.
Password Cracker Tools
Note: We do not recommend using any of these tools. We are listing them just for information to explain your password can be cracked easily. Hence you need to use a strong password to stay protected.
1. RainbowCrack – this falls into a hash cracker tool category that uses faster password cracking techniques instead of brute force tools. A computational process in which plain text and hash pairs are calculated via a hash algorithm and then stored in a rainbow table. This password cracking method can be time-consuming, but once the table is created cracking password becomes easy and fast when compared with brute force tools.
2. Brutus – this password cracker tool is a widely used remote online flexible password cracking tool. It supports multi-stage authentication engines and can connect with 60 targets at a time. Its two most outstanding features are resume and load using these feature hackers can pause the attack and can resume anytime they want.
The only drawback of this tool is, it can be used on Windows only and is not updated in years.
3. John the Ripper – another powerful tool that can be used on Linux, Unix, macOS X, Windows. This tool offers great features to crack the password. The plus point of this tool, it is an open-source password cracking tool.
Protective Measures to Stay Protected from Password Cracking
Above we have listed top 3 password cracking tools. Certainly, these tools are effective that is the reason they are widely used. But this doesn’t mean you cannot do anything. To stay protected you should create strong passwords that are hard to guess and crack. Following are a few tips that will help you stay protected from Password Cracking.
1. Password length is the most important factor, longer it is hard it is to guess. If you keep a small password it can be easily cracked. Therefore, uses at least 8 characters long password.
2. Use an alphanumeric password, this again makes password cracking difficult. Try to create a password that has a combination of small letters, capital letters, special characters, & numbers.
3. Avoid using the same password everywhere. Hackers can use data collected from a data breach to guess the password and access your account.
4. Avoid using a dictionary word, pet’s name, anniversary date, phone number, driver license number while creating a password. All these details can be obtained from anywhere and are easy to guess.
5. Never use worst passwords like 123456, Password, letmein, admin, welcome, login, abc123, monkey, etc.
Password is what secures your web account, financial account, from unauthorized access. These password cracking techniques and tools are proof that your passwords can be easily cracked. Therefore, it is important to use password managers and create a strong password to avoid a mishappening.
Now it is up to you what you want. Do leave us a comment to share your feedback. If you want any more information on cybersecurity do let us know.