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How I became a password cracker | Ars Technica

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It sounded like an interesting challenge. Could I, using only free tools and the resources of the Internet, successfully:

  1. Find a set of passwords to crack
  2. Find a password cracker
  3. Find a set of high-quality wordlists and
  4. Get them all running on commodity laptop hardware in order to
  5. Successfully crack at least one password
  6. In less than a day of work?

I could. And I walked away from the experiment with a visceral sense of password fragility. Watching your own password fall in less than a second is the sort of online security lesson everyone should learn at least once—and it provides a free education in how to build a better password.

Oh geez. Time to change some passwords. 

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