Hackers with access to stolen passwords have access to various tools for cracking them – such as brute force, dictionary search and social engineering.
Social engineering involves gathering data about personal contacts such as family, pets and favourite sports teams in order to make educated guesses and form educated opinions. Keyloggers may also aid this effort.
Hackers utilize various tools to gain information from their targets, such as packet sniffers, password crackers and port scanners. Ethical hackers also utilize these tools in order to identify vulnerabilities in computer systems in order to increase security.
These tools allow them to locate and use cracked passwords, as well as test for strength of passwords hackers create themselves, thus decreasing risk associated with social engineering attacks that involve persuading individuals into disclosing sensitive information.
Hashcat is one of the most widely used ethical hacking tools, designed for GPUs and rules to speed it up; John the Ripper serves as a fantastic password cracker; Nikto provides open-source penetration testing on local networks as well as over the internet; other useful tools include Netsparker which detects over 4500 web vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection.
Most passwords are encrypted using hashes, making it virtually impossible to decipher them without also knowing their hash value. To circumvent this protection, hackers commonly compile directories of hashes obtained from prior hacks or leaked data (known as rainbow tables).
Cracking passwords through brute force typically involves trying various combinations of letters, numbers and symbols until the password becomes apparent. This process may take many iterations depending on its strength as well as if any special functions or numbers exist within it.
Threat actors may make educated guesses in order to reduce the number of combinations they must consider, drawing upon prior information about a target such as birthday, favorite sports team or family members. Some password cracking tools also have the capability of narrowing their scope by restricting password length or filtering out characters with common substitution patterns such as replacing letters with numbers or special symbols.
Password crackers take their time cracking your password; even modern systems with fast algorithms could take several billion attempts before cracking it due to all the capitalizations, symbols and numbers which need to be tested simultaneously.
This process is known as brute force. This technique systematically explores every possible combination of characters until it identifies an accurate password. A password cracker can speed up this process using a rainbow table containing leaked or previously cracked passwords.
Credential stuffing is one method used by hackers to test out their hacked password against other services that have been breached, while social engineering (phishing, where cybercriminals pose as tech support and convince users to divulge their password), malware tracking keystrokes or taking screenshots can also help gain passwords for them.
Price fluctuations of hacking services on the dark web are driven by new data emerging within criminal ecosystems; for instance, when large data breaches expose password hashes through breaches, their price may reduce significantly.
While passwords are usually encrypted using hashes, hackers maintain and share directories of commonly used passwords along with their hash versions to help reduce the time required for brute force attacks (used for breaking into systems). Experienced hackers also utilize an advanced dictionary attack known as rainbow tables which is precompiled from leaked or cracked passwords and precompiled from leaked or cracked versions.
Even if your organization employs strong and complex passwords, these credentials will likely result in a data breach eventually. This is because many individuals opt for easy-to-guess words or sequences of letters which could easily be derived from personal information about themselves like birthdays and spouse names – these passwords then end up on hitlists used for credential recycling to attack other systems.