The top password crackers are essential tools for hacking into computer systems and networks. Commonly hackers use this software to access confidential information for malicious purposes. However, password crackers are also vital tools to enhance cybersecurity because they let businesses conduct effective penetration tests to discover any cybersecurity weak spots.
This article will compare the best password crackers based on their features, usability, security measures, and more to help you decide which one is best suited to your needs. Read on now to learn why John The Ripper, hashcat, and CrackStation are the top password crackers.
Best Password Cracker Software 2023 | Top 10 Ranked
We sifted through the plethora of options out there and settled on John The Ripper as the top app in this category. Below, we’ll briefly take you through the top contenders in the market:
- John The Ripper — Our top pick for the best password cracker. It detects hash-type (scrambled) passwords automatically.
- Hashcat — The best password cracker for an in-kernel rule engine, with customizable features to fit different needs.
- CrackStation — A great free online app for quick password hash cracking.
- Brutus — Top tool to retrieve passwords and usernames from websites, applications, and operating systems.
- Medusa — Free, customizable, open-source tool for brute force parallel testing for password cracking purposes.
- Aircrack-ng — Popular free tool for retrieving Wi-Fi passwords on the go using FMS Attack.
- WFuzz — Leading, open-source software for easy brute-force guessing attacks.
- THC Hydra — Quality expert security solution to easily test security functionalities of applications.
- Cain & Abel — Accurate free tool to detect security weaknesses of protocols on the Windows operating system..
- OphCrack — User friendly password cracker for Windows.
Best Password Cracker Tools | Top 10 Reviewed
This list of the best password cracker tools will help you find the right one for your needs. From free and open-source options to commercial solutions, we’ve reviewed the top 10 products to help you pick the best software for cracking passwords.
1. John The Ripper — Our No. 1 Pick for the Best Password Cracker Software
John The Ripper is a powerful password cracker software solution that provides a range of features to help you break through even the toughest passwords.
|Password Cracker||John The Ripper|
|Platform||Unix, macOS, Windows, DOS, BeOS, and OpenVMS|
|Protocols||Windows network auth, WiFi WPA-PSK, and more|
|System Requirements||CPU with at least one core and a minimum of 512MB of RAM|
John The Ripper is a robust but easy-to-use application that allows users to break through even the most complex passwords quickly. It comes with a range of features, including traditional DES-based and /OpenBSD Blowfish-based algorithms.
This makes it one of the most advanced and effective tools for cracking passwords on the market. Moreover, John The Ripper provides users with the latest Kerberos/AFS algorithms, allowing them to break through even the most secure passwords.
Many companies and organizations use Kerberos to protect their data from cyber-attacks, and John The Ripper makes it easy for users to break through those layers of security.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional DES-based system, Kerberos/AFS protection, or the ability to crack multiple hashes at once, John The Ripper has it all and more. Test you company’s security now to keep your business data safe.
- Easy to install
- Supports large encryption formats
- Can be complicated for beginners
Aside from the free password cracking service, John The Ripper provides a password recovery service for encrypted archives, filesystems, keychains, wallets, and more.
Using this service costs $250/hour for a minimum of 3 hours or $9,000/week for a volume discount of $225/hour. The company also offers fixed-price quotes for specific projects. Plus, you can pay in advance using major currencies or cryptocurrencies.
On the whole, John The Ripper is an effective and reliable password cracker software that provides users with a range of features to help them break through even the toughest passwords.
2. Hashcat — In-Kernel Engine Rule Password Cracker
Hashcat is a famous and powerful password cracker used by ethical hackers, security professionals, and cybercrime investigators.
|Platform||Multi-Platform (CPU, GPU, APU, etc., everything that comes with an OpenCL runtime)|
|Protocols||LM hashes, MD4, MD5, SHA-family, and Unix Crypt formats, plus algorithms used in MySQL and Cisco PIX|
|System Requirements||AMD Adrenalin Edition, AMDGPU, OpenCL Runtime for Intel Core and Intel Xeon Processors, NVIDIA Driver (440.64 or later)|
An in-kernel rule engine is a must-have for modern password cracking. Hashcat’s rule engine is an industry-leading in-kernel solution that allows robust and intricate rules to be applied at lightning-fast speeds without sacrificing accuracy.
This allows the tool to quickly apply complex manipulations of characters, words, and phrases to guess passwords more flexibly than ever before. It can be used to crack passwords from various hashing algorithms, including MD5, SHA1, WPA2, and more.
Finally, Hashcat takes advantage of GPU acceleration to dramatically speed up the cracking process. Plus, it works on multiple GPUs.
All this makes Hashcat a fast, powerful tool for security professionals looking to quickly and accurately crack passwords in large-scale investigations.
- Fast password recovery
- Multi-hash capability
As with many password crackers, Hashcat is free to use. This makes it accessible to all security professionals and cybercrime investigators who need a powerful investigation tool.
Overall, Hashcat is an excellent password cracker, offering a wide range of features and capabilities. As the world’s first and only in-kernel rule engine, it’s able to apply complex rules at unprecedented speeds.
3. CrackStation — Powerful Online Password Cracker
CrackStation can be accessed online for free and offers powerful password-cracking abilities.
|Protocols||LM, NTLM, md2, md4, md5, md5(md5_hex), md5-half, sha1, sha224, sha256, sha384, sha512, ripeMD160, whirlpool, MySQL 4.1+ (sha1(sha1_bin)), QubesV3.1BackupDefaults|
It can crack any hash in a split second, making it the perfect tool for anyone who needs to recover forgotten passwords or crack encrypted data.
With its easy-to-use interface and advanced algorithms, CrackStation makes password cracking quick and painless. With that said, CrackStation also excels when it comes to cracking non-salted hashes.
By leveraging its advanced algorithms, CrackStation can quickly and accurately crack passwords of any length with minimal effort, making it an excellent solution for retrieving forgotten passwords.
Besides all this, CrackStation utilizes a powerful look-up table containing over 15 billion entries, ensuring accuracy and speed when cracking passwords.
- Large wordlist
- Limited attack options
CrackStation’s developers have opted to make the software freely available so that everyone can benefit from its powerful capabilities.
CrackStation is an incredibly effective online password cracker. You don’t have to install any software, and its advanced algorithms can quickly and accurately crack passwords of any length.
4. Brutus — Robust Password Recovery Tool
Brutus was developed by the folks at darknet.org.uk in 2017 to help users recover lost or forgotten passwords. It’s one of the most powerful and versatile password-cracking tools available today.
|Protocols||FTP, HTTP, POP3, SMB, Telnet, NetBus, IMAP, NNTP, and other platforms|
|System Requirements||Windows 7/8/8.1/10; Memory (RAM): 1 GB of RAM required|
Using brute-force attack methods, Brutus is a robust and comprehensive tool for recovering lost or forgotten passwords. It supports dictionary, hybrid, and brute-force attack methods to help users recover their accounts quickly and efficiently.
With its high level of security, you can rest assured that your account information will remain secure. Plus, it also automatically detects the target system type, so you don’t have to worry about typing in incorrect information.
This is especially useful for those who are trying to recover passwords from multiple systems. Plus, unlike other DOS-based password crackers, Brutus features an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI).
- Intuitive GUI
- Windows only
Brutus is the ultimate open-source password recovery tool. It’s free to use yet provides all the features you’d expect from a robust password recovery tool. You can simply download the zip file on their website or in GitHub.
Brutus is an outstanding tool for password recovery. With its user-friendly GUI, automated target system detection, and support for dictionary, hybrid, and brute-force attack methods, there’s no better way to get back into your account.
5. Medusa — Excellent Thread-Based Parallel Testing Tool
Medusa was made in 2015 by the people at Foofus Networks as a fast, stable, and reliable parallel network login auditing tool.
|Platform||Linux, Windows, and macOS|
|Protocols||HTTP, FTP, CVS, AFP, IMAP, MS SQL, MYSQL, NCP, NNTP, POP3, PostgreSQL, pcAnywhere, rlogin, SMB, rsh, SMTP, SNMP, SSH, SVN, VNC, VmAuthd, and Telnet.|
The main feature of Medusa is its ability to do thread-based parallel testing. This allows an incredibly fast and efficient way to audit multiple hosts simultaneously.
You can easily add or remove hosts from your list as needed, giving you the freedom to quickly adjust your scans without having to start over from scratch.
Each service module within Medusa is designed to be modular, allowing for a great deal of flexibility when it comes to customizing the scan.
This makes adding or removing services from the scan list easy, ensuring that only the desired targets are being tested.
- Modular design
- Flexible user input
- Can only test online applications
You can freely download all the modules and try them out for yourself without spending a cent.
This accessibility, coupled with a user-friendly, flexible design, makes Medusa an excellent choice for anyone interested in auditing their network’s login credentials.
6. Aircrack-ng — Leading Wi-Fi Password Cracker
Aircrack has been around since 2006 and is widely regarded as the best Wi-Fi password cracker available.
|Platform||Windows, OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, and eComStation2|
|Protocols||WPA and WEP passwords|
Since the most common type of Wi-Fi encryption is WEP, Aircrack provides a dictionary attack to crack it. This special feature helps users quickly test thousands of potential passwords with just one click and find the right key to unlock their network.
Aircrack also comes with a powerful fragmentation attack, which is invaluable for cracking networks with weak passwords. This feature breaks down the network packet into small chunks and uses them to figure out the password.
Thanks to this capability, users can easily identify vulnerable Wi-Fi connections and protect their data from unauthorized access. On the whole, Aircrack provides a comprehensive suite of tools to analyze and monitor your network.
This makes it one of the most effective ways to secure your Wi-Fi network and identify any potential vulnerabilities. This ensures you have a safe connection with your data securely protected from unwanted intruders.
- FMS Attack
- Supports WEP and WPA protocols
- Recently updated
- Works only with Wi-Fi passwords
Aircrack is the go-to choice for reliable Wi-Fi password cracking, and it comes at no cost. Plus, the software is constantly updated with cutting–edge features to ensure compliance with the latest security standards.
Aircrack-ng is a renowned Wi-Fi password cracker, and with good cause: it offers potent features such as WEP dictionary attack, fragmentation attack, and monitoring and analytic tools to safeguard against unapproved access.
7. WFuzz — Outstanding Brute-Force Guessing Tool
WFuzz was designed for brute-forcing web applications such as web pages, directories, and files — and from a security standpoint, it’s the perfect tool for uncovering hidden problems in web applications.
|Platform||Linux, Windows, and OS X|
|Protocols||L2TP, IKEv1, or RSA|
Its modular framework makes it simple to add support for new payloads and plugins, allowing users to adapt their testing strategies as new threats arise quickly.
WFuzz was built with speed in mind — its multi-threaded engine allows users to take advantage of multiple CPU cores and make their brute force operations run faster than ever.
This makes WFuzz an excellent tool for quickly and efficiently verifying the security of web applications. Plus, WFuzz’s custom tests and plugins make it easier for users to tailor their brute-force attacks to specific targets.
On the whole, a modular framework, multi-threaded engine, and custom tests and plugins make it a must-have for anyone looking to stay ahead of security threats.
So, whether you’re looking for passwords or hidden files, WFuzz has the tools to get the job done quickly and accurately.
- Vulnerability checker
- Uses a modular framework
- Web apps only
WFuzz is an open-source tool that’s legal to use for commercial and non-commercial purposes. With no associated costs, it’s the perfect tool for any organization looking to secure its applications without breaking the bank.
On the whole, WFuzz is an outstanding brute-force guessing tool that provides an efficient way to uncover potential vulnerabilities in web applications.
8. THC-Hydra — Great Pentester That Supports All Platforms
THC-Hydra is an advanced password cracker that supports a wide range of protocols and platforms.
|Password Cracker||THC Hydra|
|Platform||Windows, macOS, and Unix Platforms|
|Protocols||HTTPS, Oracle, SID, Telnet, and more.|
Its ability to support all major platforms like Windows, MacOS, Linux, etc., provides a level of versatility unmatched by competing pentesters. Its wide range of supported protocols includes FTP, HTTP(S) Form Based Authentication, and Telnet.
Another advantage of THC-Hydra over other similar software is its impressive speed and reliability. It can quickly test combinations from various dictionaries or brute-force attack up to 16 million passwords per second.
It’s capable of parallelizing its attacks over multiple network threads to increase the cracking speed even further.
Finally, THC-Hydra has a user-friendly interface. It comes with pre-defined attack types that allow users to set up the cracker for their particular task quickly.
Moreover, this software can be run on both a local machine and a remote server for maximum convenience and flexibility.
- Wide-range of supported protocols
- Works on almost all OS
- Complicated installation
As an open-source tool, THC-Hydra is free to use and provides users with the capability to crack passwords without any financial burden. The software comes with frequent updates that bring new features and improvements for an even better experience.
All in all, THC-Hydra is an invaluable tool for pentesters and anyone who needs to recover lost or forgotten passwords from various protocols and platforms.
Thanks to its robust features, user-friendly interface, and fast cracking speed, it easily ranks as one of the best password crackers available today.
9. Cain & Abel — Outstanding Windows-Based Password Cracker
Cain & Abel is an incredible Windows-based password cracker that’s been designed to help users recover lost or forgotten passwords.
|Password Cracker||Cain and Abel|
|Protocols||APR, SSH-1, and HTTPS|
|System Requirements||Minimum 10MB hard disk space.|
What makes Cain & Abel a great password cracker is that it supports multiple protocols, making it incredibly versatile and suitable for a variety of situations.
Additionally, the software allows you to create custom dictionaries that can be used to speed up the cracking process significantly. These can be made using text files or wordlists, ensuring that you can use the most up-to-date and comprehensive data possible.
With that said, Cain & Abel is also incredibly user-friendly, with an intuitive interface that makes it a breeze to access all of its features for both novice and experienced users looking for an easy, reliable password cracking tool.
So, whether you want to crack passwords for a network security audit or recover forgotten passwords, Cain & Abel is a solid choice.
- Works as a sniffer
- Can reveal hashes and password boxes
- Windows only
Cain & Abel is an open-source, entirely free-to-use password cracking and pentesting tool. This means that the source code for the software is available for anyone to view, modify, and distribute via GitHub.
All in all, it’s an outstanding Windows-based password cracker that offers a wide range of features for both novice and experienced users alike.
10. OphCrack — User-Friendly Password Cracker
OphCrack is an LM and NTLM hash cracker that’s both fast and user-friendly, making it ideal for beginners who need an intuitive yet powerful solution.
|Platform||Windows, macOS, and Unix Platforms|
|Protocols||LM and NTLM hashes|
OphCrack is one of the market’s best-designed password crackers. Despite it being free, the developers still took the time to ensure that the interface is intuitive and easy to use for beginners.
When it comes to the protocols it supports, OphCrack covers the most popular ones, like LM and NTLM. This means it can crack passwords from all the major operating systems, giving you an edge over many other cracking tools.
It’s also worth mentioning that OphCrack is blazingly fast, making it one of the best options for quickly recovering forgotten or lost passwords. With its advanced algorithms and multi-threaded design, it can easily handle large password hashes.
- Well-designed UI
- Brute-force modules and more
- Encrypted SAM support
- Limited protocols
OphCrack is a free tool, yet it still offers the same features as many commercial products. This is a testament to its developers’ commitment to providing all users with an easy-to-use and powerful password recovery solution.
In short, if you’re looking for a user-friendly and powerful password cracker, look no further than OphCrack. It may be free, but its features are on par with those of many paid pentesting products.
The Best Tool for Password Cracking | Top 10 Compared
Take a quick look at our comparison table and check which software options are compatible with your system:
|Password Cracker||John The Ripper||Hashcat||CrackStation||Brutus||Medusa||Aircrack||WFuzz||THC Hydra||Cain and Abel||ophCrack|
|Cost||Free and Paid Service||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free||Free|
|Platform||Unix, macOS, Windows, DOS, BeOS, and OpenVMS||Multi-Platform (CPU, GPU, APU, etc., everything that comes with an OpenCL runtime)||Online||Windows||Linux, Windows, and macOS||Windows, OS X, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, and eComStation2||Linux, Windows, and OS X||Windows, macOS, and Unix Platforms||Windows||Windows, macOS, and Unix Platforms|
|Protocols||Windows network auth, WiFi WPA-PSK, and more||LM hashes, MD4, MD5, SHA-family, and Unix Crypt formats as well as algorithms used in MySQL and Cisco PIX||LM, NTLM, md2, md4, md5, md5(md5_hex), md5-half, sha1, sha224, sha256, sha384, sha512, ripeMD160, whirlpool, MySQL 4.1+ (sha1(sha1_bin)), QubesV3.1BackupDefaults||FTP, HTTP, POP3, SMB, Telnet, NetBus, IMAP, NNTP, and other platforms||HTTP, FTP, CVS, AFP, IMAP, MS SQL, MYSQL, NCP, NNTP, POP3, PostgreSQL, pcAnywhere, rlogin, SMB, rsh, SMTP, SNMP, SSH, SVN, VNC, VmAuthd, and Telnet.||WPA and WEP passwords||L2TP, IKEv1, or RSA||HTTPS, Oracle, SID, Telnet, and more.||APR, SSH-1, and HTTPS||LM and NTLM hashes|
|System Requirements||CPU with at least one core and a minimum of 512MB of RAM.||AMD Adrenalin Edition, AMDGPU, OpenCL Runtime for Intel Core and Intel Xeon Processors, NVIDIA Driver (440.64 or later)||N/A||Windows 7/8/8.1/10; Memory (RAM): 1 GB of RAM required||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Minimum 10MB hard disk space.||N/A|
How Do Password Crackers Work?
Password crackers work by attempting to guess a password through various techniques such as brute force, dictionary attacks, and social engineering.
How Long Does it Take to Crack a Password?
The time it takes to crack a password depends on several factors, such as:
- Length and complexity of the password
- The cracking method being used
- The processing power of the cracking computer
A weak and short password can be cracked in just a matter of minutes, while a strong and long password could take weeks to crack.
Top Password-Cracking Techniques That Hackers Use
Hackers use a variety of techniques to crack passwords; here are some of the most popular methods:
- Brute Force Attack — This involves trying every possible combination of characters until the correct password is found.
- Dictionary Attack — In this technique, the hacker uses a pre-compiled list of words (dictionary) to crack the password.
- Rainbow Table Attack — Involves using precomputed hashes to match against the hashed password, reducing the time required to crack the password.
- Social Engineering — This technique involves tricking the victim into revealing their password, for example, by pretending to be a trustworthy person or company.
- Key Logging — This method involves installing software on the victim’s computer that records every keystroke, including passwords.
Are There Free Password Cracking Tools?
The majority of password-cracking programs are freely accessible online, making it simpler for anyone to try to crack a password. This is due to the fact that the main functions of these tools are frequently testing and demonstrating security.
The more sophisticated and advanced cracking tools, however, are typically more expensive. An example of this is Jack The Ripper, a well-known password-cracking tool that’s available for free but also offers more in-depth and paid services.
The Best Password Managers
A password manager is a piece of software that aids users in securely storing and managing their passwords.
These solutions frequently have features like password generating, password storage, and auto-filling login information and employ encryption to safeguard the passwords.
Users may make secure, one-of-a-kind passwords for each of their online accounts using a password manager, eliminating the possibility of forgetting or losing their passwords ever again.
Check out our list of the best password managers here to ensure maximum security for your online accounts and personal information.
Password Cracker FAQs
What are password crackers?
Is password cracking illegal?
Is it possible to crack strong passwords?
What’s the most effective password cracker in 2023?
What kind of password is easiest to crack?
What is the hardest password to crack?
What is a password cracker test?
Conclusion | What’s the Best Password Cracker in 2023?
In conclusion, choosing the best password cracker is a constantly evolving task in the field of cybersecurity. With the advancement of technology and hacking techniques, new and improved password-cracking tools are being developed regularly.
After weighing up efficiency, reliability, and user satisfaction, our choice of top provider in the market was John The Ripper. It has a well-deserved reputation for its exceptional password-cracking capabilities and extensive customer base.
It’s by far one of the strongest tools on offer. Try the free version now.