Posted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:19 pm Post subject: Tricky Math Question Involving Password Attempts
Wasn't sure where else to put this question so I put it in here, please let me know if this fits better in another forum category. Here is the question, any help is appreciated.
Assume that passwords are selected from four-character combinations of 26 alphabetic characters. Assume that an adversary is able to attempt passwords at a rate of one per second.
a. Assuming no feedback to the adversary until each attempt has been completed, what is the expected time to discover the correct password?
b. Assuming feedback to the adversary flagging an error as each incorrect character is entered, what is the expected time to discover the correct password?
This document shows the approximate amount of time required for a computer or a cluster of computers to guess various passwords. The figures shown are approximate and are the maximum time required to guess each password using a simple brute force "key-search" attack, it may (and probably will) be possible to guess correctly without trying all the combinations shown using other methods of attack or by having a "lucky guess".
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