Passwords are the barrier to every unauthorized access made. It is the major reason why the cyber criminals of today are highly keen on targeting them. Password cracking as an act remains highly popular, and there is more than just 1 method for doing it. Now, the ones who do it are aware of it all, but as lame users,
how do we know how the passwords can be cracked, and how can we avoid it? Well, if you are one such concerned person who wants to know it all, it is better to give the below-mentioned information a read. It will help to remain cautious and prevent unwanted attempts to crack the password.
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Password Cracking- What is it?
Password Cracking can be defined as the use of the programs and the tools for retrieving the passwords that remain stored on the system or the network. The process can even get used for having the unauthorized access to one’s resources, and with all the information, these malicious actors can do wide-ranged criminal activities like stealing the bank credentials or using any of the information they get for theft or even fraud.
To crack a password, it might seem to be an impossible task but believe it, it isn’t. There are varied techniques and ways of recovering the passwords. It includes the comparison of a list of words to guess the password or just using the algorithm for guessing the passwords, etc. Either be the way, it’s a loss for you, and to be aware of some of such techniques will truly help you to avoid getting stuck in such situations. So, go ahead, keep reading, and learn more about the ways to crack passwords and the techniques to stop them.
Password Cracking- How does it work?
There are varied password-cracking programs available in the market. They basically just create the variations through the dictionary of some common passwords or try to attempt every single combination with the use of the method named brute force attack. Now, what’s important to understand here is that, at the outset, these professional password crackers, they don’t want your PayPal account. Most of these pros just work to download the password files from the breached servers. These password files generally store some essential information that one uses during the login of varied accounts. These files, they are easily accessible from the root level of the server operating system, or they get maintained by the individual apps. It is easy to target them probably because they remain protected using the weaker encryption algorithm that isn’t a roadblock for the cybercriminal who’s determined.
After the password list is obtained, the criminals take shots while they try to break into it. The goal isn’t just cracking individual passwords but running tests as against the entire file, trying to knock down targets, one after another. With the use of modern graphics hardware, this now becomes incredibly faster. So, what now? How to stop it?
The idea is to create the stronger passwords, and to do so,
- Try to keep your password at 12 characters at least.
- Combine a variety of characters and the letters.
- Avoid the reuse of the passwords.
- Try to pay attention to the strength indicators of the passwords.
- Avoid the phrases that are easy to guess or are common passwords.
- Use proper encryption, etc.
How Does the Password Cracking Attack Work?
There are 4 important steps. It includes,
- Stealing passwords through nefarious means.
- Choosing a cracking method like the dictionary attack, or brute-force, or any other tool.
- Preparing the password hashes to crack the program.
- Running up the cracking tool.
Now, the password cracker might not be able to simply identify the encrypted passwords. After the password retrieval from memory, these programs decrypt it or create an encrypted version of it that can match the original.
Password Cracking Techniques
In general, two of the primary methods get used by the password crackers. These are,
- Brute-Force– it runs a predetermined length combination of characters until the right combination is found matching the password.
- Dictionary Attacks– here, every word is searched within the dictionary for finding the correct password.
Apart from the above, some other techniques are,
- Phishing– it helps in gaining password access without any password cracking tool. The technique includes fooling the user into clicking on the email attachment, which installs malware or asks the user login in to the false version of the website, hence revealing the passwords.
- Rainbow attack– it includes using varied words from the password for generating possible passwords. The hackers have the rainbow table that has leaked and cracked passwords, and this makes the entire process of cracking passwords highly effective.
- Malware- it is the same as phishing, wherein the malware like Keystrokes or the Screen Scrapers get used.
- Keylogging– this method involves data theft wherein the intruder logs every single keystroke that the victim tries on the device. These keyloggers are in malware forms, and when the device gets infected, the operator sees everything the victim types on the device.
Password Cracking- Tools
Cain and Abel, Ophcrack, and John the Ripper, they are some of the password-cracking tools that can,
- Easily recover the Microsoft accounts password and the access passwords for Microsoft. Some even run on macOS and the Linux.
- Uses a graphical user interface that makes it highly user-friendly than the comparable tools.
- Make a dictionary list, rainbow tables, command prompt, brute-force attack method, etc., and use to crack the passwords.
Password Cracking- How to Avoid it?
To avoid the password cracking, it needs one to follow some measures, which start with having better passwords in use. Now, it might be tempting to have the simplest passwords, but it exposes you to becoming an easy password-cracking victim. There are some websites that have requirements for creating the passwords, like the mixed cases, using numbers and symbols and the minimum length, etc. These parameters must be followed, and make sure to avoid using the personal information and similar passwords for all the accounts. If the password gets in the hands of the hacker, you can do more than just compromising the social media accounts.
Make sure you avoid the below-mentioned in order to stay safe,
- Emails with poor grammar and spelling
- The link included emails.
- Any unusual email id.
- Links that have been highlighted for being malicious.
- The use of persuasive or any urgent language.
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Protect Yourself from Password Cracking
A big problem for most of us is creating the strong passwords. Now, even if you face this issue, make sure you create longer passwords and use the random character combinations. The password of 13 digits mixing alphanumeric characters/punctuation symbols is said to be quite impractical for breaking. But then again, we can’t remember such a big password. So, think of something unique and different that can be used by you without worrying. Try to use the 2-factor authentication everywhere. Do not put yourself at risk by any means, and trust your gut. If you feel something is not right, do not click on it. Remember, your curiosity can bring in your loss. So, it’s better to avoid to be secure and safe.