John the Ripper, passwords, algorithm
John the Ripper (JtR) is an open source software package commonly used by system administrators to enforce password policy. JtR is designed to attack (i.e., crack) passwords encrypted in a wide variety of commonly used formats. While parallel implementations of JtR exist, there are several limitations to them. This research reports on two distinct algorithms that enhance this password cracking tool using the Message Passing Interface. The first algorithm is a novel approach that uses numerous processors to crack one password by using an innovative approach to workload distribution. In this algorithm the candidate password is distributed to all participating processors and the word list is divided based on probability so that each processor has the same likelihood of cracking the password while eliminating overlapping operations. The second algorithm developed in this research involves dividing the passwords within a password file equally amongst available processors while ensuring load-balanced and fault tolerant behavior. This paper describes John the Ripper, the design of these two algorithms and preliminary results. Given the same amount of time, the original JtR can crack 29 passwords, whereas our algorithms 1 and 2 can crack an additional 35 and 45 passwords respectively.
Faculty of Applied Science & Technology
School of Applied Computing
Journal of Physics: Conference Series
Peer Reviewed/Refereed Publication
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Original Publication Citation
Sykes, E. R., Lin, M., Skoczen, W. (2010). MPI enhancements in John the Ripper. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 256(1) doi:10.1088/17426596/256/1/012024
Sykes, Edward R.; Lin, Michael; and Skoczen, Wesley, "MPI Enhancements in John the Ripper" (2010). Faculty Publications and Scholarship. 5.