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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Elcomsoft turns your PC into a password cracking supercomputer (gulp)

Posted Oct 24th 2007 9:16AM by Thomas Ricker



You know all that talk about GPUs being the new CPUs? Well it's not just a lot of hot, ventilated air. Thanks in large part to the launch of development kits like nVidia's CUDA, Russian outfit Elcomsoft has just filed for a US patent which leverages GPUs to crack passwords. Their approach harnesses the massively parallel processing capabilities of modern graphics cards to make minced-meat of corporate-strength password protection. An NTLM-hashed Microsoft Vista password, for example, can now be cracked in 3 to 5 days (instead of two months) using a simple, off-the-shelf, $150 graphics card -- less complicated passwords can take just minutes. Dial the GPU up to an $800 GeForce 8800 Ultra and Elcomsoft's approach will crack passwords at a rate some 25 times faster than existing CPU-only approaches. Yippee?

[Via NewScientist, thanks Sultan]

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Password-cracking chip causes security concerns

12:27 24 October 2007
NewScientist.com news service
Andrew Brandt

A technique for cracking computer passwords using inexpensive off-the-shelf computer graphics hardware is causing a stir in the computer security community.

Elcomsoft, a software company based in Moscow, Russia, has filed a US patent for the technique. It takes advantage of the "massively parallel processing" capabilities of a graphics processing unit (GPU) - the processor normally used to produce realistic graphics for video games.

Using an $800 graphics card from nVidia called the GeForce 8800 Ultra, Elcomsoft increased the speed of its password cracking by a factor of 25, according to the company's CEO, Vladimir Katalov.

The toughest passwords, including those used to log in to a Windows Vista computer, would normally take months of continuous computer processing time to crack using a computer's central processing unit (CPU). By harnessing a $150 GPU - less powerful than the nVidia 8800 card - Elcomsoft says they can cracked in just three to five days. Less complex passwords can be retrieved in minutes, rather than hours or days.

It is the way a GPU processes data that provides the speed increase. NVidia spokesman Andrew Humber describes the process using the analogy of searching for words in a book. "A [normal computer processor] would read the book, starting at page 1 and finishing at page 500," he says. "A GPU would take the book, tear it into a 100,000 pieces, and read all of those pieces at the same time."

Benjamin Jun, of Cryptography Research based in San Francisco, US, says massively parallel processing is ideally suited to the task of breaking passwords. And, while concerned about the development, Jun also pays tribute to the achievement: "A number of us have been following advances in those platforms, and there's a lot of elegant, intelligent design."

Password cracking can be used to unlock data on a computer, but will not usually work on a banking or commercial website. This is because is takes too long to run through multiple passwords, and because a site will normally block a user after several failed attempts.

Jun adds that the trend towards encrypting whole hard drives with increasingly long cryptographic keys still means it is becoming more difficult to access sensitive data. "Should I throw away my web server and run for the hills?" he says. "I don't think so."

NVidia released a software development kit for its graphics hardware in February 2007. Known as CUDA, the kit lets programmers access the computing power of the GPU directly. It has gained a following among those with a need for high-performance computing, particularly in fields such as science and engineering.

"[CUDA] is a huge thing for the oil and gas industry, for the financial sector, and for scientists," Humber says. He adds that CUDA is also be being used by a company called Evolved Machines to simulate the way the human brain wires itself.

Elcomsoft says it took three months to develop code to take advantage of a GPU, and the company plans to introduce the feature into some of its password cracking products over time.

Computer Viruses - Learn more about the threats to your PC in our comprehensive special report.

:whiteflag
 

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cant these people use their power to invent something like traction control on all sportbikes instead of evil?:kicknuts
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
cant these people use their power to invent something like traction control on all sportbikes instead of evil?:kicknuts
They never said it's for evil usage. You can use anything evil minded, even a spoon. :crash


:lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
nah, the spoon is a good thing.... unless she doesn't like rolling on her side?;)
You should ask LP, he's an expert with spoon... :lol
 
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