In addition to biometric authentication, Windows Hello supports authentication with a PIN. By default, Windows requires a PIN to consist of four digits, but can be configured to permit more complex PINs. However, a PIN is not a simpler password. While passwords are transmitted to domain controllers, PINs are not. They are tied to one device, and if compromised, only one device is affected. Backed by a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip, Windows uses PINs to create strong asymmetric key pairs. As such, the authentication token transmitted to the server is harder to crack. In addition, whereas weak passwords may be broken via rainbow tables, TPM causes the much-simpler Windows PINs to be resilient to brute-force attacks.
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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. 2b1af7f3a8