Nvidia's GeForce 8 series of graphics chips can be used to crack
Windows NT LAN Manager (NTLM) passwords 25 times more quickly than was
previously possible, security software developer Elcomsoft has claimed.
The Russia-based company this week announced the second major
release of its Distributed Password Recovery application, a tool
designed to recover forgotten or lost passwords for a wide range of
application and document types, including PDP-protected ZIP files,
Adobe Acrobat PDFs, Lotus Notes ID files and Microsoft Office documents.
Elcomsoft admits its software uses “brute force” to crack a file's
password, thus exposing the lost key to the user. The technique
essentially tries all possible password combinations until it finds the
one that fits. It works, but it's time time-consuming.
“Using a modern dual-core PC you could test up to 10m passwords per
second,” Elcomsoft said, “and perform a complete analysis in two
But use a GeForce 8 series card and Nvidia's Compute Unified Device
Architecture (CUDA) tools to run the cracking algorithms on the GPU
rather than the CPU, and you can finish up in 3-5 days, the developer
“Since high-end PC mother boards can work with four separate video
cards, the future is bright for even faster password recovery
applications,” it added.
CUDA was launched
almost a year ago to enable scientists and engineers to use graphics
cards typically aimed at gamers for more serious number-crunching
applications. The GeForce 8 series of GPUs went on sale in March 2007.