PlayStation: a cheap password-cracker

Sony PlayStation 3 can not only be used for games: recently it was found that hackers could use it to crack passwords. According to Nick Breese, a security researcher from New Zealand, Sony PlayStation cracks passwords 100 times faster than Intel hardware can.

“Eight-character 'strong'
passwords can be broken in a couple of days whereas before it would
take weeks,” Breese said at the Kiwicon hacker conference in Wellington, New Zealand.

Speed has a big effect on password cracking and this development means that PDF, ZIP and Office passwords can be cracked in a very short period of time, even though many others are still relatively safe.

“If you had access to a thousand PlayStations you
could still crack an eight-character Linux password in a few
days,” Breese said.
These speeds have been reached already by specialist hardware, the price of it, however, is high and the PlayStation is cheap, which means that using it for password-cracking will probably become a common practice. Widely used cyphers, such as SSL, are still safe “because the
people implementing the ciphers foresaw CPU power rapidly
increasing.”

Breese hopes that his findings will make software-makers increase the security of their passwords.


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