Which types of password cracking techniques are used by hackers?

In ethical hacking, password cracking techniques are used to assess the security of systems and networks by attempting to gain unauthorized access to user accounts or sensitive data. It is important to note that these techniques should only be used with proper authorization and consent from the system’s owner. Here are some common types of password cracking techniques used in ethical hacking:

  1. Brute-Force Attack
  2. Dictionary Attack
  3. Rainbow Table Attack
  4. Hybrid Attack
  5. Phishing
  6. Keylogging
  7. Social Engineering
  8. Offline Attack

Here, let us know the each type:

  1. Brute-Force Attack: This technique involves systematically trying every possible combination of characters until the correct password is found. Brute-force attacks are time-consuming and resource-intensive, but they can be effective against weak passwords, especially if the password length is short.
  2. Dictionary Attack: In this method, the attacker uses a predefined list of common words, phrases, or commonly used passwords (known as a “dictionary”) to attempt to crack passwords. The dictionary may contain thousands or even millions of words, making it more efficient than brute-force attacks.
  3. Rainbow Table Attack: A rainbow table is a precomputed table of hashed passwords, which makes password cracking faster compared to traditional brute-force or dictionary attacks. The attacker compares the hashed passwords in the rainbow table with the target system’s password hashes to find a match and reveal the original password.
  4. Hybrid Attack: This technique combines elements of brute-force and dictionary attacks. The attacker may add numbers or symbols to words from the dictionary or modify them in other predictable ways to create a larger set of potential passwords.
  5. Phishing: While not a direct password cracking technique, phishing involves tricking users into revealing their passwords voluntarily. Attackers create fake login pages or emails that mimic legitimate services, prompting users to enter their credentials. Once users provide their passwords, the attackers gain unauthorized access.
  6. Keylogging: Again, not a direct cracking technique, but keyloggers are used to record a user’s keystrokes without their knowledge. If a user enters their password while a keylogger is active, the attacker can retrieve the recorded information and use it to gain unauthorized access.
  7. Social Engineering: Social engineering techniques involve manipulating individuals into revealing their passwords or other sensitive information. Attackers may impersonate legitimate personnel or use psychological manipulation to extract information from targets.
  8. Offline Attack: In this scenario, the attacker gains access to the hashed passwords stored on the system, either through direct access to the password database or by exploiting vulnerabilities to retrieve the password hashes. Once obtained, the attacker can use various password cracking methods to determine the original passwords.

Ethical hackers and security professionals use these techniques to identify weak passwords and potential vulnerabilities in a system’s password security. It’s essential to implement strong password policies, multi-factor authentication, and other security measures to defend against password cracking attempts.

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