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How to Crack the Account Password on Any Operating System

Posted in Computers,Software by Joe Colburn on the January 29th, 2009

Learn How To Hack

This guest post was written by Blair Mathis from LaptopLogic.com – your premier source for the latest laptop software news and best laptop accessories.

Computer passwords are like locks on doors – they keep honest people honest. If someone wishes to gain access to your laptop or computer, a simple login password will not stop them. Most computer users do not realize how simple it is to access the login password for a computer, and end up leaving vulnerable data on their computer, unencrypted and easy to access.

Password image

Are you curious how easy it is for someone to gain access to your computer? If so, read on to see the technique one might use to figure out your computer password.

Windows
Windows is still the most popular operating system, and the method used to discover the login password is the easiest. The program used is called Ophcrack, and it is free. Ophcrack is based on Slackware, and uses rainbow tables to solve passwords up to 14 characters in length. The time required to solve a password? Generally 10 seconds. The expertise needed? None.

ophcrackSimply download the Ophcrack ISO and burn it to a CD (or load it onto a USB drive via UNetbootin). Insert the CD into a machine you would like to gain access to, then press and hold the power button until the computer shuts down. Turn the computer back on and enter BIOS at startup. Change the boot sequence to CD before HDD, then save and exit.

The computer will restart and Ophcrack will be loaded. Sit back and watch as it does all the work for your. Write down the password it gives you, remove the disc, restart the computer, and log in as if it were you own machine.

Mac
The second most popular operating system, OS X is no safer when it comes to password cracking then Windows.

The easiest method would be to use Ophcrack on this, also, as it works with Mac and Linux in addition to Windows. However, there are other methods that can be used, as demonstrated below.

If the Mac runs OS X 10.4, then you only need the installation CD. Insert it into the computer, reboot. When it starts up, select UTILITIES > RESET PASSWORD. Choose a new password and then use that to log in.

If the Mac runs OS X 10.5, restart the computer and press COMMAND + S. When at the prompt, type:

fsck -fy

mount -uw /

launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.DirectoryServices.plist

dscl . -passwd /Users/UserName newpassword

That’s it. Now that the password is reset, you can login.

Linux
Finally, there is Linux, an operating system quickly gaining popularity in mainstream, but not so common you’re likely to come across it. Though Mac and Linux are both based on Unix, it is easier to change the password in Linux than it is OS X.

To change the password, turn on the computer and press the ESC key when GRUB appears. Scroll down and highlight ‘Recovery Mode’ and press the ‘B’ key; this will cause you to enter ‘Single User Mode’.

You’re now at the prompt, and logged in as ‘root’ by default. Type ‘passwd’ and then choose a new password. This will change the root password to whatever you enter. If you’re interested in only gaining access to a single account on the system, however, then type ‘passwd username’ replacing ‘username’ with the login name for the account you would like to alter the password for.

Conclusion
There you have it – that is how simple it is for someone to hack your password. It requires no technical skills, no laborious tasks, only simple words or programs. The moral of the story? Encrypt your data to keep it safe. Don’t use only a password, but actually encryption, such as Blowfish or AES-128. There are a number of programs that can do this – TrueCrypt for Windows, or the native encryption found on Ubuntu, creating a disk image in Mac, etc.

About the author

Joe Colburn Joe Colburn is a software engineer specializing in PHP and a technology enthusiast. Always eager to dive into new and exciting things, Joe writes about anything technology related news and products that he thinks you will also be excited about. Find Joe Colburn on Google+ or by any of the links below.

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132 comments
Seo Manipulator
Seo Manipulator

that is really interesting and easier than I would have thought or liked it to be. 

House Music DJ
House Music DJ

These are good tips. I will have to bookmark this for future use. Cheers.

ondeeone
ondeeone

I FOUND A WEBSITE AT HTTP://WWW.ICHECKINU.COM AND THEY OFFERED BIOS ADMINISTRATION PASSWORD RECOVERY SERVICE FOR ONLY $9.99.  I JUST ENTERED THE DISABLED CODE/HASH CODE AND LAPTOP MODEL NUMBER IN THE FORM ON THE WEBSITE AND I RECEIVED AN EMAIL WITHIN TWO HOURS CONTAINING THE MASTER PASSWORD TO UNLOCK MY LAPTOP.  THEIR SERVICE WAS FAST AND GOT ME BACK IN MY COMPUTER IMMEDIATELY WITH THE PASSWORD THEY PROVIDED.

locumtenum16
locumtenum16

This did not work on my brothers mac. The command s thing didn't work. My brother set something so he is admin and used something else so i can never do what i want. Any help?

Scribble
Scribble

I could not get Ophcrack to work on a Mac running Windows 7 using Parallels 8. It did not recognise an operating system on the disc that I created. Any suggestions?

Apparent Lifestyle
Apparent Lifestyle

Thanks for the article. I will apply all this in school. You see how school computer labs have passwords that people create for themselves in order to "own" the computer or when you cannot download a program and activate it because you are not the administrator. 

Thanks.

Chennai Apartments
Chennai Apartments

Computer passwords are like locks on doors – they keep honest people honest. If someone wishes to gain access to your laptop or computer.

ScottMunro
ScottMunro

wot dou do if like mine the bios is password protected?

JaneDough
JaneDough

You know... if you use a Ubuntu boot CD you can opt for the "try out this OS" option and then have access to all the user files on the computer without ever even messing with a password. This works on Windows and Mac OS. All you do is start the system with the CD inserted. The only thing you may have to do is change the preferred boot sequence in BIOS.

techaudible
techaudible

Hi Blair,

 

Sorry if I am questioning on your article but does this software really works? I mean, hackers would fly with this and the data for many companies would be leaked. Is there any protection available for this kind of softwares?

black magazines
black magazines

account password of an operating system is necessary for system security if operating system in not secure than any one can do any thing in system so for our security we should creat his system account. i like your post because topic of your post is very nice.

nathans596
nathans596 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Just wondering is this detectable?

EricChan
EricChan

There is two methods to reset windows login password:

Methods 1: Use the password reset disk to recover the Windows password, by this methods, you need create a Windows password reset disk before you have lost or forgotten your Windows admin password.

 

Method 2: Using Windows Password Recovery software to recover Windows password As an easy method to recover the forgot Windows password, there are only four steps as follow: Step1: Download Anmosoft Windows Password Reset V8.0 and install it. Step2: Burn the ISO image file onto a blank CD/DVD or USB. Step3: Boot up your Windows PC by the bootable burned CD/DVD or USB in minutes. Step4: Remove the forgotten Windows password on the operation interface and logon PC without password.

 

http://www.resetwindowspassword.com

John8347
John8347

Except with the methods listed with for the Mac operating systems, reseting the password will delete all of the data in the home folders.  Essentially deleting all the personal files in the documents, music, photo's will be gone.  So most likely whatever data you want to access will be gone.  A better option is to add/access an admin account and use the admin access to reset the password of the other account.

nishnit
nishnit

hey joe icant crack the password of windows 7. it was my sisters she dont allow me to take her laptop. so help me please . i already installed oph crack but it is showing not found.

 

Windows 7 Password Reset
Windows 7 Password Reset

After reading your article, I was quite shocked to read how easy it is to reset passwords for Linux accounts and tried it.

I do have Grub as a boot loader but pressing ESC only made it run in text mode and there wasn't an option called 'Recovery Mode'. I'm actually glad that It didn't work for me but I'm quite curious which distro you are referring to in the article as I think it's quite disturbing to be able to just boot in super user mode without having to supply a password.

ross0mcdonald
ross0mcdonald

 He is probably talking about Ubuntu. If there is no "recovery mode" option you can append "init=/bin/bash" to the kernel command line. The way to prevent this from happening is to setup a GRUB password.

Wolskie
Wolskie

 @Windows 7 Password Reset This is why putting a password on grub to prevent, changing the boot options can be helpful, also removing entries which are old and unnecessary is a good idea too, however I believe even in recovery mode you still need to supply a password.

DanielleRussell
DanielleRussell

Greetings Joe! Can you please help e to recover a windows 8 password. My girlfriend is a geek and she upgrades my Windows 7 to Windows 8 Alpha version. The thing that I hate about it is she also installed a password and I can't use my netbook. She told me that I should Google it and I will know how to crack this. Please help.

JoeTech
JoeTech moderator

@DanielleRussell Did your girlfriend forget the password? I haven't tried cracking a Windows 8 system, but if you find anything out, let us know.

DanielleRussell
DanielleRussell

@JoeTech Thanks for the reply Joe. No , my girlfriend did not forgot the password, she is just trying to force the inner geek in me to solve the problem. I am still trying to crack it. I will just let you know If I succeed. Thanks again.

customitems
customitems

Hi Joe! I hope the password cracking tips in this post will also work with the latest OS of Microsoft-Windows 8. I read that this OS will give password crackers a hard time. In my opinion it will take 1 day for a hacker to crack this OS, the reason behind this is hackers always rules.

fred_martin
fred_martin

just amazing stuff I have found. I never tried it will be work properly... ?

cathyjade7777
cathyjade7777

I read this article an hour ago and I tested it on my windows xp computer, It works. My next goal is to put a new password to my daughters PC so that I can tell her that It is locked because I accidentally enabled the password option and the bad part about it I forgot the password. She will freak-out , I know her but I am her Mom and I will just be playing a joke on my sweet baby.

Miklos
Miklos

Fail article - this ain't even 0.1% of operating systems.

SE Book
SE Book

Wow, it is a little too easy to crack these passwords. That is actually kinda scary.

Watch
Watch

Me too, it is not working to me, it is still working today, October 5, 2011?

core pins
core pins

It will not work on my HP business Laptop.

icon
icon

please i want to know whether the CD are you going to burn it as a bootable CD or what? In what format are u going to burn the CD.

Tommy
Tommy

There is also the excellent NT/XP password recovery utility from passwordseeker(http://www.passwordseekrer.com) which will allow you to reset (not crack) any password stored in the SAM. I’ve even used this on NT Domain controllers to reset passwords.

Mib
Mib

Every time i go to burn it to a cd it starts to burn and then says burn error and want burn. I am using Active@ iso burning.

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