Russian password recovery firm Elcomsoft is using the power of graphics cards to dramatically speed up the cracking of passwords. The firm claims its GPU-powered attack can crack a Windows Vista password in little over three days. That's still quite long but much faster than the two months it usually takes with regular computing power.
With NVIDIA and AMD/ATI working overtime to raise the GPU's profile as a math coprocessor for computationally intensive, data-parallel computing problems, it was inevitable that someone would make an announcement that they had succeeded in using the GPU to speed up the password-cracking process. Notice that I said "make an announcement," because I'm sure various government entities domestic and foreign have been working on this from the moment AMD made its "close-to-metal" (CTM) package available for download. The Elcomsoft guys didn't use CTM, though. They opted to go with NVIDIA's higher-level CUDA interface, a move that no doubt cut their development time significantly.