Calculating Time for a Attack on Password Hashes

Summary

+ Calculate time required for an attack on password hashes using the following factors: hash function, hash length, password complexity, and attack method.

Introduction

+ Password hashes are commonly used to secure user credentials in computer systems. However, they can be vulnerable to attacks that aim to retrieve the original password from its encrypted form. The time required for such an attack depends on several factors.
– Factors Affecting Attack Time
1. Hash Function
+ Different hash functions have varying levels of complexity and security. Stronger hash functions like SHA-256 and SHA-512 are more difficult to crack than weaker ones like MD5. The time required for an attack on password hashes is directly proportional to the strength of the hash function used.
2. Hash Length
+ The length of the password hash also affects the time required for an attack. Longer hashes are more difficult to crack than shorter ones. For example, a 10-character password hash will take longer to crack than a 6-character one.
3. Password Complexity
+ The complexity of the passwords used also plays a role in determining the time required for an attack. Passwords that contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters are more difficult to guess than simple passwords like “password” or “123456”.
4. Attack Method
+ The method used to attack the password hashes also affects the time required for an attack. Brute force attacks, where every possible combination of characters is tried until the correct password is found, take longer than dictionary attacks, which use pre-compiled lists of common words and phrases.
– Calculating Attack Time
1. Estimate the number of iterations required to crack a single hash using the hash function and hash length.
2. Estimate the number of guesses per second for the attack method used.
3. Multiply the number of iterations by the number of guesses per second to get the total time required for an attack on all password hashes.

Conclusion

+ The time required for an attack on password hashes can be calculated using the above factors. Stronger hash functions, longer hashes, more complex passwords, and more secure attack methods all increase the time required for an attack. By understanding these factors, system administrators can better protect their systems against password hash attacks.

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