Distributed Password Cracking Platform

Gerrie Veerman, Dimitar Pavlov
System & Network Engineering, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2012


   title={Distributed Password Cracking Platform},

   author={Veerman, Gerrie and Pavlov, Dimitar},



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This project originates from the need for distribution when performing security testing-related password hash cracking. KPMG IT Advisory uses an MPI-supported John the Ripper cluster plus a separate system with several graphics cards for the cracking of password hashes. As they want to expand their operations, they wish to integrate GPU-capable machines with the current cluster. Initial research determined that, currently, no practical solution exists for such a problem. This project focuses on the creation of a new middleware system that is specifically tailored for cracking password hashes with existing cracking tools, while distributing the task on multiple hardware architectures. After researching the possible architectural and communication models for such a system, we created a functional and technical specification, based on a centralised architecture and a message-oriented communication protocol. We also created a proof of concept implementation, using Apache, PHP, MySQL and SQLite. This project lays the foundation for further extending the concepts and code behind this distributed password cracking platform.
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