Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

6/22/2011
04:18 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'John The Ripper' Gets A Face-Lift

Popular open-source password-cracking tool now faster, and backed with Rapid7 sponsorship

One of the industry's first open-source password-cracking tools just got a big boost in power and performance with sponsorship from Rapid7, which also plans to more tightly integrate the so-called John the Ripper tool with Metasploit.

Alexander Peslyak, founder and CTO of Openwall, which created John the Ripper, says the password security-auditing tool is now nearly 20 percent faster at cracking Data Encryption Standard (DES)-based password hashes -- a major improvement to the hacking tool.

That means a major decrease in the time and effort to validate whether passwords are following company policy for strength, for instance. Openwall also is offering via open source the method by which it sped up this process, using more optimal "S-box expressions," which are basically substitution tables used in calculations. The organization came up with a faster and more efficient way to perform these calculations.

"Recently, Roman Rusakov on our team came up with an idea on how to make use of modern computers' much greater amounts of memory and higher processing power to approach the optimization problem differently and achieve better results in a reasonable time," Openwall's Peslyak says. "So this is what we did."

Thomas Roth, an independent researcher who uses John the Ripper, says the new version of the tool is good news. "The speed-ups in the 's-box' implementations sound very promising, and a speed-up of 17 percent is a great achievement," Roth says. "Still the best way to crack DES is a cluster of FPGAs [field programmable grid arrays], [as in] projects like Deep Crack. But it's very, very great that they decided to open source [this] in John the Ripper."

Security researcher Joshua Perrymon uses John the Ripper for penetration testing and compliance-audit purposes. "The speed improvement will definitely help out when doing engagements that require password-cracking -- especially since a lot of tools integrate with John the Ripper, like THC-Hydra, Aircrack-NG, Cain and Abel, etc. It’s good to see that Rapid7 is giving back to the community by supporting John the Ripper, which means we should see further integration with Metasploit now," says Joshua Perrymon, CEO of PacketFocus. "The speed increase should also help while doing internal hacking assessments: Most times you want to crack any obtained passwords as fast as possible to maintain and establish access into the network without making too much noise or leaving a network footprint. Once the account credentials have been cracked, you’re in, and traffic then looks normal from an IDS/logging perspective."

HD Moore, CSO for Rapid7 and creator of Metasploit, says John the Ripper has been a staple in security for more than 10 years, and that it will be integrated into upcoming versions of Rapid7's commercial Metasploit products.

Password security has been the Achilles' heel of many organizations, especially in some high-profile breaches that have exposed users still deploying easy-to-guess, weak passwords, or reusing passwords across multiple applications. Moore says there's a strong demand for password-auditing tools by enterprises. "They don't just want to do brute-force, but also [check] compliance with password rules," he says. "DES matters today: It's still the back-end algorithm ... which drives Windows password-hashing. DES is faster now with this research."

John the Ripper, which supports Unix, Windows, DOS, BeOS, and OpenVMS, is available here for download.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Our Endpoint Protection system is a little outdated... 
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16246
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1 allows Local File Inclusion (LFI), a different vulnerability than CVE-2019-15931. This leads to unauthenticated code execution.
CVE-2019-17358
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
Cacti through 1.2.7 is affected by multiple instances of lib/functions.php unsafe deserialization of user-controlled data to populate arrays. An authenticated attacker could use this to influence object data values and control actions taken by Cacti or potentially cause memory corruption in the PHP ...
CVE-2019-17428
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
An issue was discovered in Intesync Solismed 3.3sp1. An flaw in the encryption implementation exists, allowing for all encrypted data stored within the database to be decrypted.
CVE-2019-18345
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
A reflected XSS issue was discovered in DAViCal through 1.1.8. It echoes the action parameter without encoding. If a user visits an attacker-supplied link, the attacker can view all data the attacked user can view, as well as perform all actions in the name of the user. If the user is an administrat...
CVE-2019-19198
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-12
The Scoutnet Kalender plugin 1.1.0 for WordPress allows XSS.