Distributed Password Recovery using Geforce 8 Video Cards

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 8, 2007
Updated • Mar 3, 2014

The software Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery was designed for distributed recovery of lost passwords. It is  making use of hardware acceleration using Nvidia GeForce video cards which, according to the developer of the software, speed up the process by a factor of up to 25.

The software package consists of three components which can act independently from each other: The agent, the server and the console. The server is started at the beginning of the password recovery process. Then a new task is created using the console (on the same or a different computer), which is then distributed to Agent devices that connect to the server and work on part of the recovery.

Agents then report back to the server once their work is done and receive another part until the password has been recovered if the parameters of the recovery have been set wide enough to catch it (if you only test for ten characters or less, you won't find any 12 character password).

The program supports brute-force and dictionary attacks, and up to 64 CPUs or CPU cores, and up to 32 GPUs per processing node.

The Agents post a status message to the server once every 60 seconds to notify about the progress that they are making.

The server receives its task from the console and distributes it among the agents. The console in its turn is designed to manage the server it is connected to and the agents that are registered on the server. The agents are registered on the server when they connect to it for the first time.

Among other formats Microsoft Office 2007 and prior documents, PGP, Adobe Acrobate PDF documents, Windows NT, XP, Vista logon passwords, Windows syskey passwords and several other are supported by Distributed Password Recovery.

How fast?

The product comes at a price though which is only affordable to companies.It starts at €599 for up to 20 clients and goes up to €4999 for up to 2500 clients. According to Elcomsoft, their software can scale the recovery to up to 10,000 workstations without performance trade-offs.

I still think it is be nice to write about it due to its hardware acceleration feature that it uses. If you can take one thing from the news article, it is that password recovery has just gotten a tad faster.

Update: Please note that the program is a commercial software that you need to purchase. The website displays general compatibility of the program with various applications such as Microsoft Office, PGP or system passwords.

The latest verison of the application supports AMD Radeon HD cards and Tableau TACC1441 hardware accelerators as well now.


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  1. zach said on December 14, 2007 at 5:55 am

    a similar project has been attempted with the PS3…

    i think makes more sense to use PS3 than geforce 8 cards since PS3’s cell processor is essentially a parallel processor and it is this kind of processing paradigm that is required to crack passes


  2. Dante said on December 9, 2007 at 3:35 am

    I’m not too sure about the http://www.crackpassword.com link you had provided for Elcomsoft. But here’s the official website: http://www.elcomsoft.com/edpr.html
    You can also download the free trial version at their official site and here as well: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Security/Security-Related/Elcomsoft-Distributed-Password-Recovery.shtml

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