Password Recovery Tools
Have you been faced with a computer where you can’t recall the password, have the kids set one up and forgotten it? If this sounds familiar, then you may have to use a specialised tool to recover or remove the password. There are a number of options you can take and here are a few of PC Clinic’s favourites.
LCP (http://www.lcpsoft.com/english/index.htm) is a user-account password recovery tool for Windows NT/2000/XP/2003. This tool can recover using a dictionary attack, brute force attack, or a hybrid dictionary/brute force attack. LCP allows you to import from a local computer, remote computer, SAM file, .LC file, LCS file, PwDump file, and Sniff file. As with many of these applications, you should avoid using your machine while LCP recovers passwords, as it will consume the majority of your machine resources for the crack.
Ophcrack (http://ophcrack.sourceforge.net/) probably our favourite is a very popular password recovery tool. It’s free (open source as well), cross platform, and very reliable. Ophcrack uses a solid implementation of rainbow tables that just happens to have been done by those who created the method. It runs on Windows, Linux/UNIX, and Mac. It cracks LM and NTLM hashes; has free tables for XP, Vista, and 7; includes a brute-force module for simple passwords; offers an audit mode and a CSV export; presents real-time graphs; has a LiveCD for easier (and more efficient) recovery; and dumps and loads hashes from encrypted SAM.
3: Windows Key
Windows Key (Figure C) can reset your Windows password for you. This is different from the other tools, in that it doesn’t recover a list of user passwords or even recover from a file. Windows Key creates a bootable CD (or USB device) you can use to boot the machine and recover the password. It’s simple to use, and it can reset both local (standard version) and domain admin account (Enterprise edition only) passwords. It promises a 100% recovery rate. Although Windows Key has a free trial, you’ll have to pony up for the full version (Standard $39.00 USD, Enterprise $295.00 USD) before you can really recover any passwords.
4: Windows Password Unlocker
Windows Password Unlocker also creates a USB or CD that can then be booted to recover passwords. There are three editions of this tool: Standard ($19.95 USD), Professional ($29.95 USD), and Enterprise ($49.95 USD). The biggest difference is that only the Enterprise and Professional editions can recover passwords. (Enterprise can even recover domain admin password.) The standard version simply removes the passwords, and it doesn’t support the USB flashdrive method.
5: Hash Suite
Hash Suite is marketed as a program designed to test the security of password hashes. It’s incredibly powerful and offers high performance (one of the fastest crackers available), an easy-to-use GUI, reports and statistics, and all the features of modern crackers. It also works on large number of hashes. This is the go-to tool when you need to recover (or test) a number of password hashes. Please note: To successfully use this tool, you will need to employ a pwdump tool to gain the necessary hashes for Hash Suite to crack.
To the rescue
You may find yourself needing a tool like this and when that time comes, you’ll be glad you have a the right tools available. This is not to say use it without regard to the law or personal morality but when you need to recover a password, sometimes there is no way around it. try out one or more of these and understand how they work before you find yourself in techno hell.