In this article, we will be talking about one of the most unethical practices, password cracking.
A password, which could also be referred to as a secret pin or passcode in a non-technical format is identified as a word, personal to the user, for the purpose of authentication in determining if the operator is who they say they are. In recent times, the word password subconsciously takes the mind to thoughts of computers and electronic devices. However, passwords have been in existence long before the internet ever was.
The backbone and foundation of Cybersecurity and any form of security is unarguably password cracking or password hacking as is popularly identified as. Over the last couple of years, the evolution of password hacking software has been remarkable. The various methods used in discovering passwords are referred to as ‘password cracking’. The act of password cracking is generally achieved by going through and recovering passwords via data stored on or related to a computer system in any form, one of which is through transportation. Password cracking employs one of the mechanisms which involve the repeated guessing of the password, usually executed through a computer algorithm, trying numerous possibilities/combinations until the correct password is finally realized.
One could come up with a reasonable amount of reasons for password cracking, but, the most unethical of the all will be to gain unauthorized access to a computing device without prior knowledge of the owner. This is referred to as cybercrime; involves stealing of passwords for the benefit of obtaining individuals or groups banking information. However, an ethical utilization of password cracking will be a situation where someone forgets his/her password and would like to unlock their computing device. Also, the need for a company to conduct tests on its security and strength of the company’s network against infiltration by hackers is another example of non-malicious password cracking.
How to prevent password cracking
Password cracking can be prevented to an extent by users through ‘choice of password’; this means that the content of any password will determine if the password can be easily cracked. Difficultly cracked passwords are those which contain a combination of mixed-case letters, as well as symbols and digits. Passwords with actual words are not perceived as strong passwords.
Modern technological developments have led password-protected applications to notify users of the strength of their chosen password upon entering it. Password strength can then be modified based on users decision.
In any case, where a more secure password development technique is required, critical stretching algorithms such as PBKDF2, can be utilized. These algorithms provide passwords that are constructed to prevent passwords from being readily hacked.
The birth of software’s capable of cracking passwords was induced by the sophisticated shift of technology in the computing space; the most effective method of password cracking; however, time-consuming involves password-cracking computers working collectively. Also, everyone is susceptible to password cracking, with exception to those who live in remote areas with zero access to computing devices and the internet.