Marlinspike expands cloud cracking tool

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Marlinspike expands cloud cracking tool

Touts web-based protocol cracker at DefCon.

Whisper Systems founder Moxie Marlinspike has expanded a web-based tool for cracking protocols used for securing Wi-Fi networks, hashing passwords and encrypting documents.

The CloudCracker service was launched in February and targeted network auditors and penetration testers. It was based on Marlinspike's WPACracker service, launched in 2009.

The latest version, unveiled at the annual DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas over the weekend, promised to crack an even greater range of encryption protocols and password hashing methods used in corporate and wireless networks and VPNs.

It claimed to be able to succesfully attack and break WPA, WPA2, NTLM,  SHA-512, MD5, and MS-CHAPv2 protocols using a field programmable grid array chip supercomputer designed by Pico Computing in the US.

Microsoft's Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol Extensions Version 2 (MS-CHAPv2) was commonly used by Windows users as part of the Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP), CNET reported.

CloudCracker promised to run "your network handshake against 300,000,000 words in twenty minutes for just $US17". The tool was accessible to anyone who paid CloudCracker's fees.

It used brute-force guessing and dictionaries to crack protocols.

CloudCracker's MS-CHAPv2 dictionary represented the entire address space of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), one of the most popular encryption algorithms containing 72,057,594,037,927,936 options.

It said this guaranteed a 100 percent succes rate on recovering MS-CHAPv2 credentials for PPTP VPN connections and the inner authentication method for WPA2 enterprise Wi-Fi.

Marlinspike is known for his work on circumventing Certificate Authorities (CAs) for secure socket layer (SSL) encryption, used for securing web browser traffic.

His Whisper Systems Android security company was acquired by Twitter last November last year for an unknown amount.

Last December, Whisper Systems open-sourced its TextSecure secure text messaging client for Android. This July, it open-sourced the RedPhone encrypted voice calls application.

RedPhone was used by Egyptian dissidents to encrypt voice calls via their Android handsets during the uprising against the Mubarak regime last year.

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