Password Hacking

Password cracking is the process of recovering secret passwords from data that has been stored in or transmitted by a computer system. A common approach is to repeatedly try guesses for the password.Most passwords can be cracked by using following techniques :

1.Hashing

Here we will refer to the one way function (which may be either an encryption function or cryptographic hash) employed as a hash and its output as a hashed password. If a system uses a reversible function to obscure stored passwords, exploiting that weakness can recover even ‘well-chosen’ passwords.One example is the LM hash that Microsoft Windows uses by default to store user passwords that are less than 15 characters in
length. LM hash breaks the password into two 7-character fields which are then hashed separately, allowing each half to be attacked
separately.

2.Guessing

Many passwords can be guessed either by humans or by sophisticated cracking programs armed with dictionaries (dictionary based) and the user’s personal information. Not surprisingly, many users choose weak passwords, usually one related to themselves in some way. Repeated research over some 40 years has demonstrated that around 40% of user-chosen passwords are readily guessable by programs.

3.Phishing

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. It occurs when an attacker, masquerading as a trusted entity, dupes a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message. The recipient is then tricked into clicking a malicious link, which can lead to the installation of malware, the freezing of the system as part of a ransomware attack or the revealing of sensitive information.

An attack can have devastating results. For individuals, this includes unauthorized purchases, the stealing of funds, or identify theft.

Moreover, phishing is often used to gain a foothold in corporate or governmental networks as a part of a larger attack, such as an advanced persistent threat (APT) event. In this latter scenario, employees are compromised in order to bypass security perimeters, distribute malware inside a closed environment, or gain privileged access to secured data.

An organization succumbing to such an attack typically sustains severe financial losses in addition to declining market share, reputation, and consumer trust. Depending on scope, a phishing attempt might escalate into a security incident from which a business will have a difficult time recovering.

4.Brute Force

A brute force attack (also known as brute force cracking) is the cyberattack equivalent of trying every key on your key ring, and eventually finding the right one. 5% of confirmed data breach incidents in 2017 stemmed from brute force attacks.

Brute force attacks are simple and reliable. Attackers let a computer do the work – trying different combinations of usernames and passwords, for example – until they find one that works. Catching and neutralizing a brute force attack in progress is the best counter: once attackers have access to the network, they’re much harder to catch.

5. Dictionary Attack

A hacker uses a program or script to try to login by cycling through combinations of common words. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictionary_attack  Wikipedia:

“In contrast with a brute force attack, where a large proportion key space is searched systematically, a dictionary attack tries only those possibilities which are most likely to succeed, typically derived from a list of words for example a dictionary (hence the phrase dictionary attack). Generally, dictionary attacks succeed because many people have a tendency to choose passwords which are short (7 characters or fewer), such as single words found in dictionaries or simple, easily predicted variations on words, such as appending a digit.”

6. Key Logger Attack

A hacker uses a program to track all of a user’s keystrokes. So at the end of the day, everything the user has typed—including their login IDs and passwords—have been recorded. A key logger attack is different than a brute force or dictionary attack in many ways. Not the least of which, the key logging program used is malware (or a full-blown virus) that must first make it onto the user’s device (often the user is tricked into downloading it by clicking on a link in an email). Key logger attacks are also different because stronger passwords don’t provide much protection against them, which is one reason that multi-factor authentication (MFA) is becoming a must-have for all businesses and organizations.

With two-factor authentication (also called multi-factor authentication, 2FA, and advanced authentication), a user is required to not only provide a password to gain access to the system, but also a another security “factor,” like a unique one-time access code generated from a token device or secure mobile app on their smartphone. A network protected by MFA is nearly impenetrable to an outside attack; even if a hacker is able to attain a system password, he won’t be able to provide the needed second security factor. 

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