A Swiss firm, Objectif Sécurité, makers of Ophcrack_Office (for Word and Excel files) and Ophcrack Open Source (over at sourceforge.net), has tweaked their application to crack XP passwords with up to 14 characters on a Steady State Drive interface (think of large, light, laptop drive using Flashdrive technology) through rainbow tables (pre-calculated hashes) in an average of 5.3s.
Seek times on the SSD seem to be the big tweak here:
Oechslin has fitted an elderly Athlon 64 X2 4400+ with an SSD and the optimised tables. This system can, with only a 75% CPU utilisation, crack a 14 digit password with special characters, in an average of 5.3 seconds. Oechslin says that, worst case, it should be able to search arithmetically through 300 billion passwords per second, a speed that is a factor of 500 faster than an Elcomsoft cracker supported by a modern Tesla GPU from NVIDIA.
The speed improvement is compared to the way they processed and interacted with their 8GB rainbow tables – which were neither optimised, nor on the SSD drives:
This cracks passwords made of 52 mixed case letters, 10 numbers and 33 special characters of length up to 14 in 5 seconds average! This performance is achieved by putting the XP special table on steroids (we increased the size from 8GB to 90GB and host it on an SSD).
The bottom line is that in seek situations, optimised (and bigger. more multi-step), seek-friendly tables on light-weight access drives like SSD, will have a positive impact overall on the performance of the application itself.
But you knew that already…