Discover New Ideas & Solutions in Di…

Passwords have been widely adopted as the most effective way to protect valuable data from unauthorized access. They are simple and easy to use, yet strong enough to deter most hacking attempts.

However, as technology has advanced over the years, the traditional security system of enforcing passwords seems to be slowly falling behind. Weak or easy-to-guess passwords can be easily cracked, and even the strongest ones don’t seem to be completely impervious to hacker attacks.

So what can you do to prevent your passwords from being cracked? On this page, we’ll address the increasingly important topic of password cracking in cybersecurity and share valuable password crack prevention tips with you. Read on to learn how to make cracked passwords a thing of the past.

Cracked passwords: how do hackers get them?

When it comes to cracking passwords, most attackers have the same mantra: the simpler, the better. They will always primarily look to use the easiest, most cost-effective, and stealthiest way to crack your password.

Worryingly enough, attackers can use one of the many tools available to gain access to your accounts. Although password cracking tools are primarily intended to help users recover lost passwords and test the strength of their passwords, unfortunately, some people decide to employ these tools for nefarious purposes. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common types of password cracking software tools:

  • Hashcat − Widely considered one of the fastest password cracking tools, Hashcat also supports a handful of password cracking methodologies. It does not store cracked passwords on its servers and is available completely free
  • THC Hydra − This Tool Supports Over 50 ProtocolsIts mobile system is compatible with all major software platforms, making it a great tool if you need iOS or Android password cracking software.
  • Medusa − Medusa is a very convenient password cracking software that supports a long list of protocols Supports various computer operating systems except Windows
  • John the Ripper − John the Ripper is a completely free, open source, and cross-platform password cracking tool. It supports hundreds of encryption and hash types and is one of the most flexible password cracking tools.
  • CrackStation − Unlike the software mentioned above, CrackStation is a web-based cracker and does not have a program. It supports many protocols, but can only use unsalted hashes with no random strings attached

Types of password cracking

In this sense, you can say that attackers have the upper hand, as there are simply too many types of password hacks. Because of this, most people don’t know how many addresses the threat can come from.

Most password cracking attacks can come in three distinct forms. These are password guessing attacks, social engineering attacks, and hash-based attacks. Let’s discuss each of these attacks in more detail.

1. Password guessing attacks

While most of us tend to imagine that cyber attacks come from super-sophisticated hackers using expensive equipment, the reality is often not that exciting. In fact, most cases of passwords being cracked are due to attackers; they just guess the password until they get it right. There are several types of password guessing attacks:

  • Random Password Guessing − The most basic form of password guessing, it is also the least effective method, unless the victim is using a very common password. or the attacker knows a lot about the victim
  • Dictionary attacks − A more advanced form of password guessing attack, in which attackers use an automated dictionary of words. The complexity of dictionary attacks depends on whether the attackers include numbers and characters and whether they target combinations of word specific.
  • Brute force attacks − Brute force password guessing attacks involve a systematic approach to every possible combination of letters, numbers and words. The main advantage of this attack is that the hacker is bound to find the correct password at some point. However , the other side of the coin is that it can take them a long time to generate all the possible permutations.

2. Social engineering attacks

Social engineering is a broad term that refers to various malicious activities carried out by exploiting human interactions through psychological manipulation. Through social engineering attacks, hackers attempt to trick their unsuspecting victims into providing them with valuable confidential information.

Social engineering attacks are often carefully thought out, as attackers often investigate their victims for information that will help them carry out the attack. These are the most common forms of social engineering attacks:

  • Phishing − Possibly the best known and most popular technique, phishing involves tricking the target into clicking a link or opening an attachment that includes malware. There are many forms of phishing attacks tailored to specific situations, including targeted phishing, hunting of whales, smishing and vishing.
  • Password reset attacks − Another common form of social engineering attacks includes initiating forced password changes by someone other than the end user Attackers manipulate a password reset link that points to a domain they control
  • Shoulder Surfing − This is a very crude and outdated way of cracking passwords, but unfortunately still works on some victims. The basis of the attack is simple. The attacker physically observes the victim entering a password and then uses the identification data obtained to carry out the attack.

3. Hash-based attacks

Lastly, hash-based attacks can be particularly dangerous. This is because hackers can attack the user/password database even offline. The two most common types of hash-based attacks are:

  • Rainbow Table Attack − Hackers first gain access to the leaked hashes and use the rainbow table to crack the password hashes. As long as the hashes do not have an additional unique encoding for each password, hackers can simply translate encrypted passwords to text without format.
  • Pass-the-Hash Attack − Abbreviated as PtH, the Pass-the-Hash attack exploits weaknesses in the authentication protocol. These types of attacks are typically used to crack Windows passwords, but can occur on other platforms as well.

How to prevent password cracking?

Password cracking is certainly a worrying practice and something we can all fall victim to. That said, this is not to say that you can’t do anything to minimize the chances of your passwords being cracked. Here’s how to prevent cracking of passwords with some simple methods:

Tip #1 Create strong passwords

The first step in preventing your password from being cracked is to set a strong password in the first place. Since your password is the first line of defense, it should be as strong as possible

There are many things to consider when trying to create the strongest possible password. For example, it should be long enough and combine upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers. Also, the clues should be unique and difficult to guess.

If you’re wondering, “how hard is it to crack my password?” and want to make sure it’s strong enough to deter any attack, we recommend reading our dedicated page on NIST password guidelines.

Tip #2 Use a trusted password manager

In addition to having strong passwords, you should also use a reliable password managerFor starters, a password manager serves a very practical purpose, as it frees you from having to memorize your passwords.

More importantly in the context of this page, it also brings additional security benefits. You can generate secure random passwords, use an autofill feature, and securely share passwords whenever you need to.

Tip #3 Use 2FA and passwordless login where possible

Two-factor authentication (2FA) has been gaining ground in recent years, and for good reason, 2FA provides an extra layer of protection and keeps your accounts safe even if your password is compromised. If an attacker gets your login credentials, they will remain excluded without obtaining approval in the second factor.

With this in mind, it is recommended to enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to do so, but it can save you a lot of headaches in case an attacker attacks you.

Also, if you want to reduce your attack surface even further, consider going completely passwordless. While this step requires a more careful approach, completely removing passwords removes the risks associated with password-based security.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *