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[ISN] How I became a password cracker
By Nate Anderson
Mar 24 2013
At the beginning of a sunny Monday morning earlier this month, I had never
cracked a password. By the end of the day, I had cracked 8,000. Even though I
knew password cracking was easy, I didn't know it was ridiculously easyâwell,
ridiculously easy once I overcame the urge to bash my laptop with a
sledgehammer and finally figured out what I was doing.
My journey into the Dark-ish Side began during a chat with our security editor,
Dan Goodin, who remarked in an offhand fashion that cracking passwords was
approaching entry-level "script kiddie stuff." This got me thinking,
becauseâthough I understand password cracking conceptuallyâI can't hack my way
out of the proverbial paper bag. I'm the very definition of a "script kiddie,"
someone who needs the simplified and automated tools created by others to mount
attacks that he couldn't manage if left to his own devices. Sure, in a moment
of poor decision-making in college, I once logged into port 25 of our school's
unguarded e-mail server and faked a prank message to another studentâbut that
was the extent of my black hat activities. If cracking passwords were truly a
script kiddie activity, I was perfectly placed to test that assertion.
It sounded like an interesting challenge. Could I, using only free tools and
the resources of the Internet, successfully:
Find a set of passwords to crack
Find a password cracker
Find a set of high-quality wordlists and
Get them all running on commodity laptop hardware in order to
Successfully crack at least one password
In less than a day of work?
Attend #HITB2013AMS April 8th - 11th in Amsterdam.
Featuring over 42 international speakers and keynotes
by Bob Lord and Edward Schwartz http://conference.hitb.org