Password Strength: An Empirical Analysis

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Executive Summary

It is a well known fact that user-chosen passwords are somewhat predictable: by using tools such as dictionaries or probabilistic models, attackers and password recovery tools can drastically reduce the number of attempts needed to guess a password. Quite surprisingly, however, existing literature does not provide a satisfying answer to the following question: given a number of guesses, what is the probability that a state-of-the-art attacker will be able to break a password? To answer the former question, the authors compare and evaluate the effectiveness of currently known attacks using various datasets of known passwords.

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