Print 65 comment(s) - last by Oregonian2.. on Jan 19 at 2:35 AM

  (Source: Elcomsoft)
Make sure your WPA/WPA2 passwords are good ones

GPU-powered general-purpose computing is causing all sorts of security nightmares these days, and wireless access points secured with WPA seem to be the latest victim. Elcomsoft, of “Advanced eBook Processor” fame, released a proprietary WPA/WPA2-PSK cracker that uses GPUs to brute force passwords in record time.

Elcomsoft claims its software can try almost 16,000 passwords per second (p/sec) with a single Radeon HD 4870, using an “advanced dictionary attack” that mutates entries from a master wordlist. Advanced hardware, such as the NVIDIA Tesla S1070 GP-GPU, raises the password rate to more than 52,000 p/sec – compared to an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU, which clocks at 1,100 p/sec.

The program, known as the “Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor”, claims it was designed for network administrators and IT personnel seeking to audit internal security, as well as external penetration testers and other “white hat” hackers.

While brute-force and dictionary attacks are nothing new, Wireless Security Auditor appears to be one of the most efficient solutions available. To work, it requires a tcpdump-formatted communications dump with at least one handshake packet. Elcomsoft says all processing is done off-line, and is completely transparent to the targeted network.

HotHardware notes that the way Elcomsoft phrases its “proprietary” dictionary engine most likely means that it doesn’t use third-party programming interfaces such as OpenCL, CUDA, or Stream.

Despite the massive improvements in scalability and processing power that GPUs offer compared to regular CPUs, a full-scale brute-force attack against all but the weakest of WPA passwords is still infeasible – the amount of time required to brute-force a 10-digit password, assuming the entire ASCII character set and the same password rate, would still take a Radeon HD 4870 over 2 trillion years. Even with optimizations – such as narrowing the possibilities down to 0-9 and the upper/lower cases of the English alphabet – the number of GPUs required to crack it within a year lies in excess of 1.6 million.

Elcomsoft lists Wireless Security Auditor for $1,199, however the software it is currently priced at $599.99 until March 1, 2009.

Late last year, security researchers announced that they were able to break weak SSL certificates using the computing power of 200 PlayStation 3s over a handful of weekends. The attack only applied to SSL certificates signed with an MD5 hash, as opposed to the more-secure SHA1 or SHA2 algorithms, but its effects are devastating: once cracked, the attacker can impersonate the certificate signing authority and generate fully trusted SSL certificates for any domain, for any browser that trusts certificates signed with MD5.

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RE: Are you sure?
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 8:58:35 AM , Rating: 3
Also if it allows you to have a list of passwords to try first it could be even faster. If you go through an area you know to be highly religious you'll probably get one with their password being "godisgreat" or "jesusrules". Not picking on Christians just saying that people are stupid.

RE: Are you sure?
By nvalhalla on 1/16/2009 9:04:39 AM , Rating: 3
A dictionary attack. That's usually how it's been done.

RE: Are you sure?
By Spivonious on 1/16/2009 9:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, going through the dictionary first is definitely the way to go. Also, applying some filter to words to make them "l33t", as that's how my passwords are (I figure it'll fool some of the dictionary attackers).

Writing the program for this wouldn't be hard; it's just finding the processing power to do it in a reasonable amount of time. And then once you're on the network, you can access all of their photos and MP3s.

RE: Are you sure?
By nerdboy on 1/16/2009 12:37:36 PM , Rating: 3
If people want to take the time to hack into my wireless network so badly they resort to using the nvidia GPU's then go ahead. All your gonna find is porn

RE: Are you sure?
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 2:41:26 PM , Rating: 2
And videos of you dancing to Britney Spears songs. Go ahead and admit it.

RE: Are you sure?
By Oregonian2 on 1/16/2009 3:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
You mean "password" isn't a great password that nobody would possibly guess?

RE: Are you sure?
By foolsgambit11 on 1/16/2009 6:44:17 PM , Rating: 2
1, 2, 3, 4, 5? That's the combination on my luggage!

RE: Are you sure?
By Oregonian2 on 1/19/2009 2:35:48 AM , Rating: 2
But then I don't think we're even "allowed" to lock luggage anymore -- at least not at airports. At least if we don't want them to break the locks to open them (do they use duct tape to close it back up? Always intended to look that up but never did).

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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