The 2022 update to our famous Hive Systems Password Table that’s been shared across the internet, social media, the news, and organizations worldwide. So what’s new, and what’s our methodology behind it? Keep reading!
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It’s been two years since we first shared our (now famous) password table. So it was about time we not only updated it for 2022 but we wanted to walk you through our methodology. While the data fits nicely into the table above, things aren’t as as simple as it shows. So we’ll walk you through our data, our assumptions, and oh, you’re going to see a LOT of variations of the password table above!
“So how’d you make the table”?”
In 2020, we shared a colorful table that took the internet by storm. It showed the relative strength of a password against a brute force cracking attempt, based on the password’s length and complexity. The data was based on how long it would take a consumer-budget hacker to crack your password hash using a desktop computer with a top-tier graphics card. Two years later – quite a long period of time in processing power improvement terms – we’re long overdue for an update.
First, let’s get some key terms out of the way. We’re going to talk about hashing. In the context of passwords, a “hash” is a scrambled version of text that is reproducible if you know what hash software was used. In other words, if I hash the word “password” using MD5 hashing software, the output hash is 5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99. Now if you hash the word “password” using MD5 hashing software, you’ll also get 5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99! We both secretly know the word “password” is our secret code, but anyone else watching us just sees 5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99. For this reason, the passwords you use on websites are stored in servers as hashes instead of in plain text like “password” so that if someone views them, in theory they won’t know the actual password.
You can’t do the reverse. A hash digest like 5f4dcc3b5aa765d61d8327deb882cf99 can’t be reverse computed to produce the word “password” that was used to make it. This one-way approach for hashing functions is by design. So how do hackers who steal hashes from websites ultimately end up with a list of real life passwords?
Hackers solve this problem by cracking the passwords instead. In this context, cracking means making a list of all combinations of characters on your keyboard and then hashing them. By finding matches between this list and the hashes from the stolen passwords, hackers can figure out your true password – letting them log into your favorite websites. And if you use the same password on multiple sites, you’re in for a bad time.
You can do this comparison with any computer, but it is much faster if you accelerate the process with a powerful graphics card. Graphics cards are those circuit boards that stick out of your computer’s bigger green circuit board. Among other things, this special circuit board has a Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) on it. A GPU is the shiny square tile on your graphics card that likely says NVIDIA or AMD on it. Originally GPU’s were built to make pictures and videos load faster on your computer screen. As it turns out, they’re also great for mining cryptocurrencies, and for calculating hashes. A popular application for hashing is called Hashcat. Hashcat includes hashing functions, like MD5, while allowing you to use them quickly and see how fast it was able to do so. As a side note, we usually say “hash function” instead of “hash software.”
Source: Are Your Passwords in the Green?
The rest of the article is very interesting, including many more graphs depicting various scenarios