Password Cracking Based on Special Keyboard Patterns
Author(s): Hsien-Cheng Chou, Hung-Chang Lee, Chih-Wen Hsueh, Fei-Pei Lai

Date: January 2012
Publication: International Journal of Innovative Computing, Information and Control, Volume 8, Number 1(A)
Page(s): 387 - 402
Publisher: ICIC International
Source 1:

Abstract or Summary:
Passwords are still the most commonly used mechanism for user authentication. However, they are vulnerable to dictionary attacks. In order to guard against such attacks, administrative policies force the use of complex rules to create passwords. One commonly used "trick" is to use keyboard patterns, i.e., key patterns on a keyboard, to create passwords that conform to the complex rules.

This paper proposes an efficient and effective method to attack passwords generated from some special keyboard patterns. We create a framework to formally describe the commonly used keyboard patterns of adjacent keys and parallel keys, called AP patterns, to generate password databases. Our simulation results show that the password space generated using AP patterns is about 2^44.47 times smaller than that generated for a brute-force attack. We also design a hybrid password cracking system consisting of different attacking methods to verify the effectiveness. Our results show that the number of passwords cracked increases up to 114% on average than without applying AP patterns.

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