Swiss security firm Objectif Sécurité has taken advantage of the extra performance of solid state disks to develop a new way to crack Windows XP passwords in record speed. The company used a solid state disk with optimised tables containing 80GB of password hashes, making it possible to crack a 14-digit password with special characters in just 5.3 seconds. The new method is about 100 times quicker than the company's old 8GB Rainbow Tables for XP hashes.
The exercise illustrated that the speed of hard discs rather than processor speeds was the main bottleneck in password cracking based on password hash lookups.
Objectif's test rig featured an ageing Athlon 64 X2 4400+ with an SSD and optimised tables containing 80GB of password hashes. The system supports a brute force attack of 300 billion passwords per second, and is claimed to be 500 times faster than a password cracker from Russian firm Elcomsoft that takes advantages of the number crunching prowess of a graphics GPU from NVIDIA.