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Using Google to crack MD5 passwords.

stern (37545) writes | more than 6 years ago

Security 2

stern writes "A security researcher at Cambridge, trying to figure out the password used by somebody who had hacked his website, ran a dictionary through the encryption hash function. No dice. Then he pasted the hacker's encrypted password into Google, and Shazzam — the all-knowing Google delivered his answer. Conclusion? Use no password any other human being is ever likely to use for any purpose, I think."
Link to Original Source


Unfortunately, you can't prove it anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21421105)

Because Google is polluted with people referring to his exploits (pun intended). Also, the password that he cracked was 'Anthony' which, for some reason, wasn't found in his dictionary attack. That probably means that random-ish passwords will be fine. Here's the most interesting part from TFA:

Instead, I asked Google [google.com]. I found, for example, a genealogy page [rootsweb.com] listing people with the surname "Anthony", and an advert for a house [fizber.com], signing off "Please Call for showing. Thank you, Anthony". And indeed, the MD5 hash of "Anthony" was the database entry for the attacker. I had discovered his password.

In both the webpages, the target hash was in a URL. This makes a lot of sense -- I've even written code which does the same. When I needed to store a file, indexed by a key, a simple option is to make the filename the key's MD5 hash. This avoids the need to escape [wikipedia.org] any potentially dangerous user input and is very resistant to accidental collisions. If there are too many entries to store in a single directory, by creating directories for each prefix, there will be an even distribution of files. MD5 is quite fast, and while it's unlikely to be the best option in all cases, it is an easy solution which works pretty well.

The real problem (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21422149)

Wordpress stores raw MD5 hashes in the user database (despite my recommendation to use salting).
This is not an issue if the database uses salting in the passwords.
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