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MS Word passwords a doddle to crack

Sorted in a few seconds
Wed Sep 20 2006, 16:22
TEH REDUCTION in the cost of storage has meant that a determined hacker can break most MS Word passwords in a few seconds.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a decades-old code-cracking technique has suddenly become more viable.

First reported in 1980, the technique involves pre-generating a massive "rainbow table" of passwords and their corresponding hashes - the encrypted strings of numbers computers use to verify passwords.

This method was next to near impossible to use before because it takes terabytes of storeage to hold the tables. But now cheap storeage cost means that it is doable.

Christian Stankevitz, the laboratory manager for Chicago-based IT security consultancy Neohapsis said that the system would replace the old method of brute force attacks. This is where a computer keeps asking the computer combinations until it guesses the right word.

Using Rainbow tables, a hacker can simply look up virtually any hash in the massive index and match it to the corresponding password in seconds.

More here. µ


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