Breaking passwords just got 25 times faster

November 14th, 2007 - 2:50 am ICT by admin  
The technique takes advantage of the “massively parallel processing” capabilities of a graphics processing unit (GPU) - the processor normally used to produce realistic graphics for video games.

While the most secure passwords, including those used to log onto a Windows Vista computer, normally take months of continuous computer processing time to crack, Elcomsoft claims its hardware can do the job in a matter of days.

By increasing the speed of its password cracking through a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), its hardware can crack passwords in just three to five days, said Elcomsoft CEO, Vladimir Katalov.

Less complex passwords can be retrieved in minutes, rather than hours or days, he said.

Katalov said that an 800 dollars graphics card from NVidia called the GeForce 8800 Ultra has helped increase the hardware’s password cracking ability by a factor of 25.

Andrew Humber, spokesman for NVidia, said the hardware’s work could be compared as being similar to that of searching for words in a book.

“A normal computer processor would read the book, starting at page 1 and finishing at page 500. But a GPU would take the book, tear it into a 100,000 pieces, and read all of those pieces at the same time,” he said.

According to the New Scientist magazine, Elcomsoft took three months to develop the code to take advantage of a GPU, and has now filed a patent for the product in the US.

The company plans to introduce the feature into some of its password cracking products over time, the magazine reported. (ANI)

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