12 Most Common Tricks Used To Hack Passwords In 2022

12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022

In this article, we look at the 12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022. Learn how these tricks can be prevented by using a password manager or one-time password app on your phone.

For a long time, passwords were thought to be an acceptable method of maintaining privacy in the digital world. The shortcomings in this simple technique of authentication became more obvious when cryptography and biometrics became more widely available.

Despite this, attackers would have been able to guess the password even if it hadn’t been leaked. In the United States, a lawmaker says that most parents use a tougher password to keep their kids from “watching too much YouTube on their iPad.”

Weak or easy-to-guess passwords are more widespread than you might think: according to recent NCSC research, one in every six people uses their pet’s name as a password, making them highly predictable. To make matters worse, these passwords are frequently reused across many websites, with one-third of people (32%) using the same password for multiple accounts.

Password security is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. As more and more data is stored online, it becomes increasingly important to protect your login information. With the 12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022, you can be sure that you’re taking all the necessary precautions to keep your information safe. Make sure to read this article carefully to stay safe!

What is password cracking?

Password cracking is the process of retrieving passwords from a computer or data transmitted by a computer. This does not have to be a complicated procedure. Password cracking is a brute-force attack that checks all possible combinations.

If the password is saved in plaintext, a database hack provides the attacker with full access to the account. Most passwords, however, are now stored using a key derivation process (KDF). This is done by running a password through a one-way encryption cipher, resulting in a “hash.” The hash-version of the password is saved on the server.

When using a GPU or botnet, it’s simple to attempt a large number of different hashed passwords at once. That’s why most password hashing algorithms use key stretching algorithms, which make it more difficult to brute-force a password.

If your password contains salting or key stretching, some password cracking methods become substantially more difficult. Unfortunately, some services still keep passwords on their servers in an unencrypted or weakly encrypted format.

12 Most Common Tricks Used to Hack Passwords in 2022

1.    Dictionary attack

12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022

The dictionary attack makes use of a simple file that contains terms that may be found in a dictionary, hence the name. To put it another way, this assault makes use of the same types of terms that many individuals use as passwords.

The dictionary attack is a more sophisticated variant of the brute force attack.

This works by passing a list of frequently used passwords and phrases into a computer system until anything matches.

This dictionary is a tiny file that contains the most popular password combinations. 123456, qwerty, password, iloveyou, and the all-time classic, Hunter2, are among them.

Most dictionaries will have passwords and word combinations that have been used in previous hacks, as well as the most common passwords and passwords.

This method makes use of the fact that many people use memorable phrases as passwords, which are frequently made up of full words. This is one of the main reasons why systems encourage users to create passwords with a variety of character kinds.

2.    Brute force attack

12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022

The brute force assault, like the dictionary attack, has an added benefit for the hacker. As an alternative to just using words, they can use a brute force attack to find words that aren’t in a dictionary by going through all possible alpha-numeric combinations. They can go from aaa1 to zzz10.

Brute force attacks are a group of hacking methods that all require guessing passwords in order to get into a system.

A brute force attack can be as basic as a hacker guessing a person’s password based on pertinent evidence, but it can also be much more sophisticated. For instance, credential recycling If an attacker is successful in brute-forcing a password, he will assume that the password has already been used and will try the same combination of login credentials on other websites. Credential stuffing is a technique that has become very popular in the age of data leaks because it is easy to do.

The complexity rules will be followed, such as including one upper-case letter, one lower-case letter, decimals of Pi, your pizza order, and so on.

The most commonly used alphanumeric character combinations will also be tried first in a brute force attack. The previously mentioned passwords, as well as 1q2w3e4r5t, zxcvbnm, and qwertyuiop, are among them. This method can take a long time to figure out a password, but it is totally dependent on the intricacy of the password.

3.    Phishing

12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022

Phishing is the most common tactic, which involves duping the victim into opening an email attachment or clicking on a malicious link. Sending an essential and official-looking email that tells you to act before it’s too late is usually the tactic of choice. Finally, password-extracting software is installed or the victim enters his account information on a spoof website.

There are various varieties of phishing, each customized for a specific situation, so we’ll go over the most popular ones:

  • Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that focuses on a single person and tries to get as much personal information as possible before the attack.
  • Whaling primarily targets top executives and employs company-specific content, such as customer complaints or shareholder letters.
  • Voice phishing happens when a person gets a fake message from a bank or other institution that tells him to call a hotline and give them his account number.

Phishing is one of the most widely utilized password-stealing strategies nowadays, and it’s also used in other forms of cyber attacks. Its success is founded on the ability to deceive a victim with ostensibly valid information while acting on an evil purpose, which is rooted in social engineering strategies.

Businesses are well aware of the pervasive phishing attacks on their employees, and they frequently run phishing training exercises on them, both on purpose and unwittingly. Phishing is most commonly done over email, but it can also be done through other kinds of communication, such as SMS text messaging, which is known as’ smishing. ‘

Phishing typically entails sending an email to a recipient with as many elements as possible to make it appear legitimate, such as company signatures, correct spelling and grammar, and more sophisticated attacks have recently attached themselves to existing email threads, with phishing coming later in the attack chain.

The attacker will then try to persuade the victim to download and open a malicious document or other sort of file (usually malware) in order to accomplish whatever goal the attacker has in mind. This could include getting the victim’s passwords, infecting them with ransomware, or even staying hidden in their environment so that they can be used for more attacks in the future.

Although this isn’t precisely a “hack,” falling victim to phishing or spear-phishing is almost always disastrous. Phishing emails are sent in the billions to all kinds of internet users all over the world, and they are unquestionably one of the most popular methods for obtaining someone’s password.

A typical phishing email looks like this:

  1. A spoof email appearing to be from a big organization or business is sent to the target user.
  2. A spoof email with a website link needs urgent attention.
  3. This URL takes you to a spoof login page that looks just like the real thing.
  4. The unwitting target user types in their login credentials and is told to try again.
  5. User credentials are stolen, sold, or exploited in some way (or both).

4.    Social Engineering

12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022

When we talk about social engineering, we’re talking about the process of convincing users that the hacker is a real agent. Hackers frequently call victims and pretend to be technical support, asking for information such as network access credentials in order to assist them. In person, with a phony uniform and credentials, this can be just as successful, though it’s considerably less common these days.

Typically, the attacker calls the victim while posing as a representative of a company or organization in order to obtain as much personal information as possible. He or she might even gain the password or credit card information straight away by acting as a bank or Google agent. Unlike the other methods, social engineering can take place offline by phoning or even meeting the victim in person.

Gauging what the entire staff understands is an important aspect of any security audit. A security firm, for example, will call the company they are reviewing. The “attacker” claims to be from the new office tech support staff and needs the most recent password for anything specific.

Without thinking, an unwary individual may hand over the keys. The frightening part is how frequently this happens. For ages, social engineering has been practiced. Duplicity to obtain access to a secure place is a typical technique of assault that can only be avoided via education.

Also Read: 12 Ways To Make Up Passwords That Are Secure And Memorable In 2022

5.    Rainbow Table

When a password is saved on a system, it’s usually encrypted with a ‘hash,’ or cryptographic alias, which makes determining the original password impossible without the associated hash.

To get around this, hackers save and share directories with passwords and hashes, which are typically constructed from earlier intrusions, lowering the time it takes to break into a system (used in brute force attacks).

Rainbow tables go a step further, storing a precompiled list of all potential plain text versions of encrypted passwords based on a hash method, rather than just a password and its hash. They can then be compared to encrypted passwords found in a company’s system by hackers, so they can find out if they match.

When compared to other approaches, much of the processing is done before the attack, making it far easier and faster to initiate an attack.

A rainbow table is a type of password assault that takes place offline. For example, an attacker may have obtained a list of user names and passwords, but they are encrypted. The hashed password is encrypted. This means it doesn’t resemble the original password in any way.

Your password, for example, is logmein. “8f4047e3233b39e4444e1aef240e80aa” is the MD5 hash for this password.

In other circumstances, though, an attacker will run a list of plaintext passwords through a hashing technique and compare the results to an encrypted password file. In other cases, the encryption algorithm isn’t very safe. Most passwords, like MD5 (which is why we know the hash for “logmein”), have already been cracked.

This is where the rainbow table really shines. A rainbow table is a large set of precomputed algorithm-specific hash values that eliminates the need to evaluate hundreds of thousands of probable passwords and match their resulting hash.

The use of a rainbow table reduces the time it takes to crack a hashed password significantly, but it isn’t flawless. Hackers may buy pre-populated rainbow tables with millions of possible combinations.

6.    Malware/Keylogger

A keylogger, also known as a screen scraper, records what you type or takes screenshots during a login process and sends a copy of the file to hackers’ headquarters.

Some malware will look for and steal a web browser client password file. This file will have passwords from the user’s browsing history unless it is encrypted.

Keyloggers and screen scrapers are two of the most frequent malware forms for obtaining passwords. The first sends all of your keystrokes to the hacker, and the second uploads screenshots, as their names suggest.

Malware, which includes keyloggers, screen scrapers, and a slew of other harmful tools, is malicious software designed to collect personal information. In addition to highly disruptive malicious software like ransomware, which seeks to limit access to an entire system, there are also highly specialized malware families that target passwords specifically.

Passwords can potentially be stolen using other sorts of spyware. Even while downloading so-called grayware, a backdoor trojan might provide the user with full access to their computer.

These programs, often known as potentially unwanted programs, usually install themselves once a user clicks the erroneous “Download” button on a website. While most will show you ads or sell your browsing history, some may install dangerous software.

7.    Spidering

Spidering is the process of hackers becoming well acquainted with their targets in order to obtain credentials based on their actions. The method is extremely similar to phishing and social engineering approaches, but it requires significantly more labour on the part of the hacker, and it is generally more successful as a result.

Spidering can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the target. If the target is a large corporation, hackers may try to obtain internal material, such as handbooks for new employees, to get a sense of the platforms and security the organization employs. These are frequently where you’ll discover instructions on how to use various services or notes on how to use the office Wi-Fi.

Companies frequently use passwords that are related to their business activity or branding in some way, mostly to make it easier for employees to remember. Hackers can take advantage of this by looking at a company’s products and coming up with a list of words that could be used in a brute force attack.

The idea is to make a word list that will aid in guessing the password more quickly.

After looking through the company’s website, social media, and other resources, you might come up with something like this:

  • Founder name – Mark Zuckerberg
  • Founder DOB – 1984 05 14
  • Founder’s sister – Randi
  • Founder’s other sister – Donna
  • Company name – Facebook
  • Headquarters – Menlo Park
  • Company mission – Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together

All you have to do now is upload it to a password cracking program, and the hack will begin.

8.    Shoulder Surfing

12 most common tricks used to hack passwords in 2022

Shoulder surfing is a type of social engineering that involves peering over someone’s shoulder while they’re entering credentials, passwords, and other information.

Although the principle is simple, you’d be shocked at how many passwords and sensitive information get stolen this way, so be mindful of your surroundings when accessing bank accounts or other sensitive information on the fly.

The most daring hackers would disguise themselves as parcel couriers, air conditioning service experts, or anything else that would allow them to gain entrance to an office building. Once inside, the service personnel’s “uniform” gives them a kind of unrestricted pass to move around and record passwords entered by genuine members of staff. It’s also a great way to look at all those post-it notes with logins scribbled on them that are glued to the front of LCD screens.

Also Read: 11 Proven Methods to Unlock an App Lock Without a Password or Pattern in 2022

9.    Mask attack

Mask attacks are significantly more specific in their scope than dictionary attacks, which use lists of all conceivable phrases and word combinations. They often refine assumptions based on letters or numbers—usually based on prior knowledge.

For example, if a hacker knows that a password begins with a number, they can customize the mask to only test passwords that start with that number. The length of the password, how the characters are arranged, whether special characters are included, and how many times a single character is repeated are all parameters that can be used to customize the mask.

The goal is to cut the time it takes to crack a password in half and eliminate any needless processing.

10.  Network analysers

Hackers can use network analyzers to monitor and intercept data packets sent over a network in order to extract plain text passwords.

Although this attack necessitates the use of malware or physical access to a network switch, it can be extremely effective. It is applicable to most internal networks because it does not rely on exploiting a system vulnerability or network problem. As part of the first phase of an attack, network analyzers are often used. Then brute force attacks are used.

Businesses may, of course, use these tools to scan their own networks, which can be particularly valuable for diagnostics and troubleshooting. Admins can use a network analyzer to see what information is being transmitted in plain text and put policies in place to prevent it.

The only method to avoid this attack is to encrypt the traffic and route it through a VPN or equivalent service.

11.  Offline cracking

It’s crucial to keep in mind that not all hacking occurs on the internet. In fact, because most systems limit the number of guesses permitted before an account is locked, the majority of the work is done offline.

Offline hacking usually entails decrypting passwords using a list of hashes, most likely obtained from a recent data breach. Hackers can take their time because there is no threat of detection or password form constraints.

Of course, this can only be done after a successful initial attack, whether it’s a hacker getting elevated rights and accessing a database, a SQL injection attack, or a chance encounter with an unprotected server.

12.  Guess

 If everything else fails, a hacker can always try to guess your password. While there are numerous password managers that generate impossible-to-guess strings, many users still rely on memorable phrases. These are often about their interests, pets, or family, and a lot of this information can be found on the profile pages that the password is meant to protect.

While guessing isn’t the most prevalent password cracking method, it does relate to the business-oriented spidering discussed earlier. It’s not always necessary for the attacker to obtain information on the victim because trying some of the most frequent passwords is often enough. There are some terrible passwords on this list, and if you used any of them, we strongly recommend that you change them right away.

Some of the most commonly used passwords in the world are:

Despite the fact that the number of people who use basic or default passwords such as “password,” “qwerty,” or “123456” is decreasing, many people still choose simple and memorable phrases. Names of pets, lovers, pet-lovers, ex-pets, or anything relevant to the actual service, such as its name, are frequently used (lowercase).

 Maintaining password hygiene and using password managers, many of which are free, is the best method to eliminate this as a potential entry point for thieves.

Other Attacks to Beware Of

If there’s one thing that hackers lack, it’s inventiveness. These intruders keep getting away by using a variety of tactics and adapting to changes in security procedures.

Anyone on social media, for example, has probably seen the fun quizzes and templates asking you to talk about your first automobile, favorite food, and favorite music when you were 14 years old. Even though these games look harmless and are sure to be fun to play, they actually serve as an open template for security questions and account verification answers.

When creating an account, try choosing responses that aren’t directly related to you but are easy to remember. “Can you tell me about your first car?” Instead of answering honestly, write down your ideal car. Otherwise, don’t put any security answers on the internet.

Resetting your password is another option for gaining access. Using a frequently checked email account and keeping your contact information up to date are the strongest lines of protection against an intruder changing your password. Always use two-factor authentication if it’s available. Even if a hacker knows your password, they won’t be able to access your account until they have a unique verification code.

Password cracking tools

Without the right tools, no password cracking can begin. When you have to choose from billions of possibilities, a little help from the computer is more than welcome. Each tool, like always, has advantages and disadvantages.

The most popular password cracking tools are listed here in no particular order.

1. John the Ripper

John the Ripper is a free, open-source, command-based utility that appears on many popular password cracking tool lists. It’s for Linux and macOS, while Hash Suite, which was made by a person who helped, is for Windows and Android.

The encryption and hash types supported by John the Ripper are numerous. Here are a few examples:

  • Passwords for Unix, MacOS, and Windows users
  • Web-based applications
  • Servers for databases
  • Captures of network traffic
  • Private keys that are encrypted
  • Filesystems and disks

There’s also a Pro edition with additional functionality and native OS packages. Word lists for password cracking are available for purchase, but there are also free options.

2. Cain and Abel

Cain & Abel is another famous password cracking program, with around 2 million downloads from its official source. But, unlike John the Ripper, it has a graphical user interface, making it instantly more user-friendly. Cain & Abel is a go-to tool for amateurs, sometimes known as “script kids,” because of this, plus the fact that it’s available on Windows.

 This is a multi-purpose gadget that can do a variety of tasks. Cain & Abel can be used as a packet analyzer, a VoIP recorder, a route protocol analyzer, or a wireless network scanner with MAC address retrieval. If you already have the hash, this program will give you the option of using a dictionary or brute force assault. Cain and Abel can also reveal passwords hidden beneath the asterisks.

3. Ophcrack

Ophcrack is a password cracking program that specializes in rainbow table assaults and is free and open-source. To be more specific, it cracks LM and NTLM hashes, with the former referring to Windows XP and previous operating systems and the latter to Windows Vista and 7. On Linux and FreeBSD, NTLM is also available to a degree. Both of these hash formats are unsafe; a fast computer can crack an NTLM hash in less than three hours.

Ophcrack only took six seconds to crack an eight-symbol password using a rainbow table that includes letters, digits, and uppercases. That’s even more variables than a typical password contains.

This program includes free rainbow tables for Windows XP/Vista/7 and a brute force attack option for easy passwords. Ophcrack is a program that works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

4. THC Hydra

THC Hydra’s strongest point may not be the number of heads it can grow, but the sheer number of protocols it supports, which appears to be growing as well! This is an open-source tool that can find network login passwords for a wide range of protocols, such as Cisco AAA, FTP, HTTP-Proxy, IMAP, MySQL, Oracle SID, SMTP, SOCKS5, SSH, and Telnet, to name a few.

THC Hydra’s tactics include brute force and dictionary attacks, as well as the use of wordlists supplied by other tools. Because of the multi-threaded combination testing, this password cracker is noted for its speed. It can even execute checks on many protocols at the same time. THC Hydra is a Windows, macOS, and Linux application.

5. Hashcat

Hashcat, billed as the world’s quickest password breaker, is a free open-source program that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It includes a variety of approaches, ranging from simple brute force to a hybrid mask with a wordlist.

 Hashcat is capable of using both your CPU and GPU at the same time. This speeds up the process of cracking several hashes at the same time. The number of hash types supported, however, is what makes this tool truly ubiquitous. Hashcat can decrypt MD5, SHA3-512, ChaCha20, PBKDF2, Kerberos 5, 1Password, LastPass, KeePass, and many others can be decrypted with Hashcat. It actually supports over 300 different hash types.

However, you must first obtain the password hash before you can begin cracking. Here are a few of the most common hashing tools:

Mimikatz is a password audit and recovery app that may also be used to get malicious hashes. In fact, it might collect plaintext passwords or PIN codes as well.

Using Wireshark sniffing is possible with Wireshark. Wireshark is an award-winning packet analyzer that is used by both hackers and businesses and governments.

 Metasploit; This is a well-known framework for penetration testing. Metasploit is a security tool that can also be used by hackers to get password hashes from a computer.

Best Practices to Protect Yourself from Hackers

  • Use a password manager to create strong and unique passwords for all of your accounts.
  • Don’t click on links or download files in emails at random; it’s recommended not to, but activation emails prevent you from doing so.
  • Check for and install security updates on a regular basis. Most business computers won’t let you do this, but the system administrator will handle it.
  • Encryption should be considered when utilizing a new computer or drive. Because of the additional information, encrypting an HDD/SSD with data can take hours or days.
  • Apply the principle of least privilege, which implies only granting access to what is absolutely necessary. In order to use your computer in a casual way, you should make non-administrative accounts for yourself, your friends, and your family.

How do you make a secure password?

Failure to create a strong password, no matter how good your memory or password manager is, will have unfavorable effects. Password cracking programs, as we stated in this post, can decipher weak passwords in days, if not hours. As a result, we feel compelled to remind you of some of the most important pointers for coming up with a solid pass:

  • the lengthThe most essential component, as is typically the case, is length.
  • Combine letters, numbers, and special characters to create a new word. The number of possible combinations is greatly increased as a result of this.
  • Re-use is not permitted. Even though your password is secure in theory, reusing it puts you at risk.
  • Avoid using terms that are easy to predict. A dictionary term, a word on your pet’s collar, or a word on your license plate is a big no.

Most frequently asked questions

What’s the point of having a distinct password for each site?

You presumably already know not to share your passwords and not to download any information you’re unfamiliar with, but what about the accounts you use on a daily basis? Consider the case where you use the same password for your bank account as you do for Grammarly. If Grammarly is hacked, the user will have access to your banking information as well (and possibly your email), making it even easier to gain access to all of your financial resources).

What can I do to keep my accounts secure?

The greatest line of protection against hackers is to use two-factor authentication on any accounts that support it, create unique passwords for each account, and mix letters and symbols in them. As previously stated, hackers gain access to your accounts in a variety of ways, so other things you should do on a regular basis include keeping your software and apps up to date (for security patches) and avoiding any downloads you’re unfamiliar with.

What is the safest method for storing passwords?

Keeping track of a variety of unusual passwords can be extremely difficult. Although going through the password reset process is preferable to having your accounts compromised, it takes time. You can use a service like Last Pass or KeePass to save all of your account passwords and keep them safe.

To make your password even more difficult to crack, include symbols, but organize them so they’re easier to remember. The “+” symbol, for example, can be used for any account related to entertainment, whereas the “!” symbol can be used for financial accounts.

Is it unlawful to crack passwords?

There isn’t a simple answer to this. To begin with, all of the password cracking tools listed above are completely legal. This is because they play an important role in detecting vulnerabilities and can also aid in the recovery of forgotten passwords. Furthermore, such instruments aid law enforcement in the fight against crime. As is often the case, password cracking can benefit both good and harmful causes.

When it comes to password cracking as a hobby, there are two elements to consider. For starters, the hacker does not have permission to access that data. Two, the purpose is to steal, damage, or misuse the data in some way. Even if only one of these characteristics is present, a hacker will almost certainly face a penalty, which could range from a fine to a lengthy prison sentence.

 Conclusion

Password breaking is simpler than most people believe. There are numerous free tools available, some of which are simple enough for even rookie crackers to use. There are a variety of password cracking techniques to test as well. A simple brute force attack is the first step in password cracking, but it soon moves on to more complex methods that combine several techniques.

Using a strong password is the best security against password cracking. Even the fastest computer will not be able to crack your account in this lifetime if you use enough symbols and distinct letters. Because memorizing numerous strong passwords is unlikely, using a dependable password manager is the best option. For the time being, two-factor authentication is a pain in the rear for any hacker, so adding a finger or face ID will keep your data safe.

References:

ITpro

Cybernews

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