It's been a big day! My supercomputer arrived in a rather large box, much to the obvious annoyance of the delivery man who had to drag the thing 30 yards as he couldn't get the van up the lane near the office.
Unwrapped and connected up to a suitably large screen the beasty purred into life and promptly crashed. No Apple technology here. Side off, found a couple of loose cards,tighten up, reboot and we are away.
The machine is based on AMD motherboard technology with 2 uber ATI 4870X2 boards providing 800 parallel processing cores per board giving a total of 1600 processing cores. With the right software designed for GPU parallel processing it will chug along at 2.4 terraflops or 2.4 trillion floating point calculations per second.
The definition of a supercomputer is 1 trillion terraflops and the first one was built by Intel just 11 years ago, it took up 2000 sq ft of space. 11 years on I have a machine 2 1/2 times more powerful under my desk, the lights dim when I fire it up but you can't have everything!
I've bought it to carry out super fast password cracking, I can chew through 60,000 passwords per second or 5.1 billion per day which is some work rate especially when using intelligent varying dictionary based attacks. Instead of pure brute forcing which is all down to key space (password length * all possible combinations), an intelligent varying dictionary attack takes a word such as 'password' and attempts all likely variations such as :-
password123 etc etc
Using this process a 3 million word dictionary can quickly be turned into a 150 million word table or much more. When done 60,000 times per second you can try an awful lot of variations and the success rate becomes very high indeed. A completely, pattern free, randomized password/phrase will still require brute forcing and we will all probably retire before a guaranteed success.
The new software I'm using focuses on WPA 4 way handshake attacks, you can check it out here. Other software allows the GPU accelerated attacks against Office files and loads of others.
My first job arrived from a Police Department yesterday so we shall see how it goes.