laptop security

The Use and Abuse of Password Hacking Programs

Are you looking for password hacking programs? You're not alone, it's a growth business. Every day there are millions of web searches for hacking and cracking tools. Not all of these searches are motivated by sinister intent. We all forget passwords and a cracking tool can be a life saver. Is that the only reason there is interest in hacking and cracking? We don't think so.

password hacking programs

Anyone who keeps confidential data on a laptop should be concerned about the sophistication of password cracking programs and keyloggers. A teenager armed with a PC and cracking tool can mount a highly effective brute force attack.

Many (we suspect most) PC users believe their data is secure because they use passwords. Unfortunately passwords give a false sense of security. There isn't a password that cannot be cracked by one of the readily available techniques. It's simply a matter of how long it takes: seconds, minutes, or days.

Is there anything that can be done to protect the security of data on a laptop computer? Yes , and the first step is to recognize that the risk is real. It's easy to dismiss the risk of being hacked, especially if haven't been hacked. But, how can you be sure that you haven't been hacked?

Types of Password Hacking Program

Brute Force Attack

As the name implies, it involves throwing every possible string combination at a password field until authentication is finally achieved. Such an attack can potentially test thousands of keys a second. The length of time it will take depends on the length of the password and the mix of character types (alpha, numeric and other). It will also depend on whether or not there is a lockout after a specified number of failed attempts.

Dictionary Attack

The effectiveness of this approach will depend on the dictionary size and the type of dictionaries. These may include foreign language as well as technical dictionaries. Dictionary attacks will also manipulate strings to pick up reverse sequencing of characters, omitted characters, abutted words and so on. As a general rule, phrases are harder to crack than words.

Cipher Text Attack

Involves reversing the work done by cryptographers in translating plaintext into cipher text. In a cipher text attack, the objective is to turn cipher text back into plain text.

Many tools combine several modes of attack. To quote from the pitch page of one of the better known password hacking programs, Caine and Abel:

"It allows easy recovery of various kind of passwords by sniffing the network, cracking encrypted passwords using Dictionary, Brute-Force and Cryptanalysis attacks, recording VoIP conversations, decoding scrambled passwords, recovering wireless network keys, revealing password boxes, uncovering cached passwords and analyzing routing protocols."

Suggestions for Increasing Password Strength

Selecting a password or better still a pass phrase, should be a considered and thoughtful process. Generating strong passwords demands skill and some knowledge.

  • At least 8 characters.
  • Use alpha-numeric, punctuation characters and spaces.
  • Use both upper and lower case characters.
  • Do not use words found in the dictionary.
  • Do not use real names, especially girls' names, football clubs or names of pop stars
  • Don't use any of the above in reverse sequence.
  • Do not use dates.
  • Do not use keyboard sequences (QWERTY).

One way of reducing the threat presented by password hacking programs, is to not only have strong passwords, but to also change them regularly. A solution to coming up with strong passwords on demand is to use an encrypted password safe such as Roboform. It both eliminates the need to remember passwords (no matter how cryptic) and enter them, thus defeating the key loggers. It also features a password generator that spits out excellent randomized strings on demand.

Yet another option is the use of a biometric device such as a fingerprint password scanner. The more sophisticated models provide a wide range of encryption options and eliminate the need to remember passwords.


Install a whole of disk laptop encryption product such as PGP. If your laptop is stolen then sensitive data including passwords will be safe.

Wireless Internet Security

Wireless router security is easy to crack because users typically don't change the default passwords or configure encryption. In the absence of a secure encrypted connection it's a trivial exercise for a neighbor to use a use sniffer to grab IP addresses, passwords or whatever else catches their interest.

Anonymous proxies will increase the level of difficulty for a hacker. They conceal IP addresses and in some cases encrypt traffic. When combined with other security measures they will negate the effectiveness of password hacking programs. Similar results can also be achieved by using free anonymous web surfing sites.

Disk Cleaners

Evidence Eliminator is one of the many hard drive cleaners that should be used routinely by everyone with a concern about personal privacy and identity theft. Even knowing how to format a hard drive is not the answer, formatting will not erase all data. It's actually difficult to completely erase data from a disk without shredding it or using a hard drive cleaner.

Trends in Password Hacking Software

Cyber-criminals are now selling password hacking programs on the net to anyone with a credit card. Companies such as Guidance Software address the demand from law enforcement agencies for hacking tools with its product enCase. There is also corporate demand for for products such as enCase, where they are used to monitor employees use of IT facilities.

Given the sophistication of these tools and the availability of ever more powerful PC's, it's inevitable that the time required to crack the strongest passwords will shrink from hours to minutes and seconds. Furthermore, access to powerful password hacking programs will become even more widespread than it already is. At some point in this progression there will be a tipping point when people no longer take laptop data security for granted.

Surf The Internet At Work?


Windows and other software programs store history about the different activities that you have performed on your computer and on the Internet. This information is stored in the system areas of your hard disk and the built-in Windows functions like 'Clear History' offer little protection as they can only partially delete this data. Anyone can take a look at your history and find out what you have been doing on your computer, and this raises serious privacy concerns.

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