The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

We could have done that

Via YARGB are some interesting password recovery times based upon password content, length and type of computing resources one has.

I remember back in college (in the early 90s) we had access to a MasPar with, I think, 4,096 processing nodes. There was talk of writing a password cracking program for the machine, which was a perfect use for the machine, being a SIMD architecture (same program on each processing node, but different data). The default Unix password scheme (at the time) used a 12 bit number to “randomize” the password, so there could be 4,096 different encryption results for any given password. A perfect fit for the MasPar—instead of having to do 4,096 serial encryptions of a guess, all 4,096 possible values could be tested at once. An incredible increase in speed (it could do in an hour what it would take a conventional computer about 24 days to do).

But alas, we never got around to it; I'm suspect it was because no one really wanted to program in FORTRAN.

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