From Robert Lemos’s Rainbow warriors crack password hashes (The Register: 10 November 2005):
Over the past two years, three security enthusiasts from the United States and Europe set a host of computers to the task of creating eleven enormous tables of data that can be used to look up common passwords. The tables – totaling 500GB – form the core data of a technique known as rainbow cracking, which uses vast dictionaries of data to let anyone reverse the process of creating hashes – the statistically unique codes that, among other duties, are used to obfuscate a user’s password. Last week, the trio went public with their service. Called RainbowCrack Online, the site allows anyone to pay a subscription fee and submit password hashes for cracking.
“Usually people think that a complex, but short, password is very secure, something like
$FT%_3^,” said Travis, one of the founders of RainbowCrack Online, who asked that his last name not be used. “However, you will find that our tables handle that password quite easily.”