The Beginning

A user complained to corporate computer support personnel that a computer they were using was unusually slow. The system administrator assigned to investigate the complaint found the problem—one user was running a program that was using all the processing power. This program, called crack, is freely available on the Internet and is designed to crack passwords. For each user account on the system, it guesses a password and checks to see whether the guessed password is correct. This program is capable of trying many thousands of guesses per second, and is usually very good at finding a password for at least one user on a computer. It is because of the existence of these programs that security people require us to chose a complex password ...

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