While the National Security Agency (NSA) makes nearly-daily headlines about spying on people and their Internet activity, a new application recently released to the public can reportedly crack passwords with 8 million guesses per second.
This type of hacking, called “brute force,” is when a hacker employs numerous combinations of letters and words to crack a password.
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The application, oclHashcat-plus, is plugged as a free password cracking and recovery tool, but it's likely to be used by third parties. The software was released this weekend by Hashcat.net.
The oclHashcat-plus can crack passwords up to 55 characters and uses password guesses based upon password-construction protocol followed by a company, notes ArsTechnica.com.
To test oclHashcat-plus, a security researcher at ArsTechinica.com cracked the password “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn1,” which is a phrase from a horror story written by H.P. Lovecraft.