I thought this article was very interesting. You can now harness the unique power of a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) (ie: video card CPU) to crack password hashes. In the article a Moscow software company discovered that you can use a nVidia GeForce 8800 video card to crack Windows NTLM password hashes apparently 25 times faster then normal! From Elcomsoft’s website:
“Using the “brute force” technique of recovering passwords, it was possible, though time-consuming, to recover passwords from popular applications. For example, let’s assume that logon passwords for Windows Vista is composed of uppercase and lowercase alphabetic characters, and up to eight characters long. There are about 55 trillion (52 to the eighth power) possible passwords in this range. Windows Vista uses NTLM hashing by default, so using a modern dual-core PC you could test up to 10,000,000 passwords per second, and perform a complete analysis in about two months. With ElcomSoft’s new technology, the process would take only three to five days, depending upon the CPU and GPU.”
Also note that the product used distributed processing in a client/server architecture so it can harness the power of multiple GPU’s when cracking passwords. A 20 client license is only $599 US. Read more about this product here.