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10 March 2010, 10:43

Password cracker 100 times faster with an SSD

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The security specialist Objectif Sécurité has optimised its rainbow tables – a common tool used to crack password hashes – to make use of SSDs. The result is, according to Objectif Sécurité's Philippe Oechslin, an acceleration by a factor of 100 when compared to their old 8GB Rainbow Tables for XP hashes. A web form takes the XP-hashes and cracks them for free with the new, ten times larger tables.

Oechslin has fitted an elderly Athlon 64 X2 4400+ with an SSD and the optimised tables. This system can, with only a 75% CPU utilisation, crack a 14 digit password with special characters, in an average of 5.3 seconds. Oechslin says that, worst case, it should be able to search arithmetically through 300 billion passwords per second, a speed that is a factor of 500 faster than an Elcomsoft cracker supported by a modern Tesla GPU from NVIDIA.

Calculations with rainbow tables achieve the acceleration by pre-computing the intermediate steps of all possible password hashes for a specific algorithm and then storing those results as a table. The more steps that are stored, the bigger the tables and the faster the cracking process. Once the tables no longer fit in memory, the less-used parts of the tables are saved on mass storage devices, previously this would have been a hard disk, which in turn leads to slower access times while searching them.

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