Home Spy Apps Best Password Crackers | Top 10 Reviewed + Compared for 2023
Jacob O'Shea
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The best password crackers help network administrators, ethical hackers, and cyber security professionals recover forgotten or lost passwords and test password strength. Password cracking tools can also be used by individuals who have lost a password to one of their accounts. So, if you want to use a password cracker and know the best password crackers available in 2024, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve looked at factors such as the type of password-cracking techniques a password cracker uses, what operating systems they’re compatible with, and more to decide upon our list of the top 10 password crackers for 2024. Read on to learn how password crackers like Hashcat, John The Ripper and THC Hydra can help you uncover lost passwords.

Best Password Cracker Software 2024 | Top 10 Ranked

There are lots of password crackers out there today. Here’s the top 10 ranked:

  1. Hashcat — Best Overall Password Cracker
  2. John The Ripper — Great Multipurpose Password Cracker
  3. THC Hydra — Good Password Cracker For Dictionary and Brute-Force Password Recovery
  4. CrackStation — Well-Rounded Web Based Password Cracker
  5. Aircrack-NG — Best Password Cracker for WiFi Passwords
  6. Ophcrack — Great Open Source Password Cracker
  7. Medusa — Versatile Web Based Password Cracker
  8. L0phtcrack — Password Cracker with Interactive GUI
  9. RainbowCrack — Best Rainbow Table Password Cracker
  10. WFuzz — Password Cracker With Injection Vulnerabilities Features

Best Password Cracker Tools | Top 10 Reviewed

To help you compare the best password crackers, we’ve reviewed them in more depth below. Read on to find the one best suited to your needs.

1. Hashcat — Best Overall Password Cracker

One of the most well-known password-cracking tools available today is Hashcat. It’s a free open-source password cracker compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows mobile.

The software supports various password-cracking methodologies, including brute force, dictionary, and combination attacks.

Hashcat interface | The best password cracker tool

Hashcat claims to be the fastest password cracker on the market and the only in-kernel rule engine. The software also supports over 300 hash types, meaning Hashcat can decipher passwords from ChaCha20, Kerberos 5, 1Password, LastPass, SHA3-512, and more.

In addition, Hashcat can crack multiple passwords on multiple devices simultaneously, making it a popular password cracker for large organizations looking to test the strength of their employee passwords and other cybersecurity professionals, such as penetration testers.

Overall, Hashcat is a great password-cracking tool. It’s a well-renowned piece of software that’s perfectly legal to use, providing the purposes for its use are also permitted. You can get started with Hashcat by downloading it for free today.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
Hashcat Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force, Dictionary, Combination No Free

Pros 

  • Supports over 300 hash types
  • Compatible with multiple operating systems
  • Supports various password-cracking methodologies

Cons

  • Requires some technical expertise to use

2.  John The Ripper — Great Multipurpose Password Cracker

John The Ripper is a free multipurpose password cracker compatible with Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, and Unix. In addition, the tool’s code is open source, meaning it’s available to the public, so you don’t need to worry about the legality of the software.

John the Ripper Interface | Best password cracking tool

The tool works well for passwords on all the operating systems it’s compatible with. Plus, like Hashcat, it uses various password-cracking techniques such as combination, dictionary, and brute force attacks.

The open-source John The Ripper package is free to download and gives the user multiple modules for generating hashes, such as Secure Shell (SSH) keys with ss2john, .kbdx files with keepass2john, and password protected zip files with xip2john.

Security professionals can use these hashes to find a password with John The Ripper. Overall, it’s an effective password cracker; it’s beginner friendly, recommended by professionals, supports a wide range of hashes and is free to use.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
John The Ripper Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force, Dictionary, Combination Yes Free

Pros

  • Works well on multiple platforms
  • Supports a wide range of hashes
  • A top-rated tool with security professionals

Cons

  • It can be complex to set up

3. THC Hydra — Good Password Cracker For Dictionary and Brute-Force Password Recovery

THC Hydra is a free password-cracking tool that utilizes dictionary and brute-force password recovery methodologies. It’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and MacOSX.

Plus, it supports a range of security protocols, including Asterisk, AFP, Cisco auth, Cisco enable, CVS, Firebird, and many more.

THC Hydra Interface | Top password cracking tool

THC Hydra is also open source and has 25 regular contributors to its source code. Anyone using the tool looking for extra usage can find additional features in user-made extensions.

Beyond this, THC Hydra comes pre-installed on Kali Linux systems. It can be downloaded on other operating systems through GitHub.

Due to its open-source code and active community of regular contributors, security professionals and developers use the software regularly to test applications’ security functionalities.

Any password uncovered by THC Hydra is only shown to the user; no passwords are stored on online servers.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
THC Hydra Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force, Dictionary No Free

Pros 

  • Has an active community of contributors
  • Supports a large number of protocols
  • Easy to download through GitHub

Cons 

  • Fewer password-cracking techniques available

4. CrackStation — Well-Rounded Web Based Password Cracker

CrackStation is a web-based password cracker that uses the dictionary attack method. This tool cracks password hashes using pre-computed lookup tables with over 15 billion password hash entries.

Users can enter 20 non-salted hashes simultaneously (one per line), and it’s available on Windows, MacOSX, and Linux.

CrackStation interface | Free password cracker software

CrackStation supports the LM, md4, md5, sha1, sha224, sha256, sha384, ripeMD160, whirlpool and more. Users should be aware that only non-salted hashes can be used through the service without any random strings.

If you can crack a password hash, then the password will only be viewable to you. CrackStation doesn’t store any cracked passwords on its servers. It’s a legitimate piece of software that’s legal to use if users don’t attempt to decrypt passwords they don’t have permission to uncover.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
CrackStation Windows, MacOSX, Linux Dictionary No Free

Pros

  • Utilizes lookup tables with over 15 billion entries
  • Detailed setup instructions on CrackStation’s website
  • Supports plenty of protocols

Cons 

  • It only works for non-salted hashes

5. Aircrack-NG — Best Password Cracker for WiFi Passwords

Aircrack-NG is slightly different from the other password crackers we’ve looked at. It’s a password cracker specializing in recovering WiFi network passwords and can also be used to test different areas of a WiFi networks’ security.

Aircrack-NG interface | Best Wifi password cracker

Users can use Aircrack-NG to crack passwords that use the WPA/WPA2 PSK or WEP standards, and the password cracker uses the dictionary attack technique supported by numerous algorithms such as FMS and PTW.

Aircrack-NG is primarily used on Linux and is free to download, but it can also be used on Windows and MacOSX. There’s some technical expertise required to use the tool as it uses a command-line interface.

Aircrack-NG doesn’t store any of the wifi passwords they uncover, and anyone who uses the tool should ensure they’re authorized to use it before looking to uncover any wifi passwords.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
Aircrack-NG Windows, MacOSX, Linux Dictionary No Free

Pros

  • Best password cracker to uncover wifi passwords
  • Service doesn’t store wifi passwords
  • Website clearly states how the password cracker works

Cons 

  • It can only be used to uncover wifi passwords

6. Ophcrack – Great Password Cracker for Windows

Ophcrack is an open-source password cracker that’s free to download and can be used to launch rainbow table attacks to uncover passwords, with the program checking LM and NTLM hashes.

Ophcrack | Best Windows password cracker

These two hashes cover a range of windows operating systems – LM hashes are for Windows XP and earlier operating systems, while NTLM is for subsequent Windows operating systems.

Ophcrack also runs on Linux/Unix and MacOSX — although the program is more limited on these operating systems. Ophcrack’s rainbow table attacks are used to uncover trickier passwords, but for more simple passwords, the program will attempt a brute force attack.

As the program is open source, there are no privacy issues with the software, and there have never been any reported issues regarding Ophcrack’s privacy or safety.

The creators of Ophcrack offer a Live CD that you can download from their website. This CD should be downloaded to a different computer than the target computer and transferred to a physical CD, so it can then be used on the target PC to uncover the password.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
Ophcrack Windows, MacOSX, Linux Rainbow Table No Free

Pros

  • Great for uncovering Windows passwords
  • Used extensively by network administrators to test the strength of passwords
  • Open source code

Cons 

  • Works better on Windows than other operating systems

7. Medusa — Versatile Web Based Password Cracker

Medusa is a web-based password cracker that uses the brute force password cracking method. The tool supports many protocols, including HTTP, FTP, CVS, AFP, POP3, and Telnet.

Medusa Dashboard | Password Crack Software

The command-line tool within Medusa can test up to 2,000 passwords in 60 seconds, which is impressive. The software supports Linux, SunOS, BSD, and MacOSX and comes pre-installed on Kali Linux.

The only drawback of the software being a command-line tool is that a user has to learn all the commands to use Medusa effectively. All these commands are listed on the developer of the website of the tool. Here are some of the other key features that Medusa contains;

  • Modular design
  • Flexible user input, which includes user/host/password
  • Parallel testing, which allows you to perform simultaneous brute-force testing

Medusa is fine to use as long as you have permission to recover the passwords you’re attempting to crack.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
Medusa Linux, SunOS, BSD, and MacOSX Brute Force No Free

Pros

  • Medusa comes pre-installed on Kali Linux
  • Compatible with many platforms
  • All commands are listed on the developers website

Cons 

  • No open source code

8. L0phtcrack — Password Cracker with Interactive GUI

L0phtcrack is an open-source password cracker that uses the dictionary and brute-force attack methods. These enable the tool to guess and generate passwords. One interesting feature of L0phtcrack is that users can set routine password security scans to test network security.

These scans can occur daily, weekly or monthly.

L0phtcrack interface | Best password cracker solution

Until 2021 Lophtcrack was a paid product; however, it’s now free but can only be installed on Windows devices. Although, the tool can still crack MD5 and DES-encoded password files on Linux.

Another useful feature of L0phtcrack is that new users will see a welcome tutorial after they’ve installed and opened the password cracker, making it one of the more easy-to-use password crackers. It also uses a graphical user interface (GUI) rather than a command line.

Finally, the tool is legal to use as long as the passwords recovered are owned by the user or they have the permission of the owner of the passwords they’re recovering.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
L0phtcrack Windows Dictionary, Brute Force Yes Free

Pros

  • One of the easiest-to-use password crackers
  • Uses a variety of password-cracking methodologies
  • Clear tutorial available to all users

Cons 

  • Updates to the software can be slow

9. RainbowCrack — Best Rainbow Table Password Cracker

RainbowCrack is a desktop tool used to crack password hashes using rainbow tables. The cracking technique that the tool employs is the time-memory trade-off technique — this cracking technique can be quickened by using multiple GPUs, allowing users to recover passwords quicker.

RainbowCrack | Password cracker

Users can use RainbowCrack to generate rainbow tables or download pre-existing rainbow tables online. RainbowCrack also offers rainbow tables for other password systems, including LANMAN, SHA1, MD5, and NTLM.

The software is free to use on Windows and Linux. Interestingly, users can choose between a command-line interface and a graphical user interface, giving them a good choice about how they want to use the app.

Using the service with a graphical user interface is easier than using the command line interface; all a user has to do is click on ‘File’ and press “Add Hashes” to get started.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
RainbowCrack Windows, MacOSX, Linux Rainbow Tables No Free

Pros

  • Great for those looking for a rainbow tables password cracker
  • Choice between a GUI and command-line interface
  • Well renowned password cracker

Cons 

  • Doesn’t have many password cracking techniques

10. WFuzz — Password Cracker With Injection Vulnerabilities Features

The final password-cracking tool we looked at is WFuzz, another brute-force software similar to THC Hydra and Medusa.

WFuzz interface | Password cracking software

One unique feature of WFuzz is that it can also find injection vulnerabilities in an application, such as SQL injection, LDAP injection, and XSS injection. The tool has multi-platform support and can be used on Windows, Linux, and MacOSX.

WFuzz uses a command-line interface, so it helps if users have some knowledge of commands to use WFuzz effectively.

As with the other password-cracking tools we’ve looked at, WFuzz is legal to use if the user is recovering their own passwords or has permission from the relevant owner or administrator who owns the password they’re trying to recover.

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Source Price
WFuzz Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force No Free

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Clear setup instructions
  • Open source code

Cons 

  •  Lacks advanced password-cracking capabilities

The Best Tool for Password Cracking | Top 10 Compared

Here’s a quick head-to-head comparison of the best password cracking software solutions to help you find the one best suited to your needs:

Password Cracker Platform Compatibility Crack Methods Used Open Soure Price
Hashcat Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force, Dictionary, Combination No Free
John The Ripper Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force, Dictionary, Combination Yes Free
THC Hydra Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force, Dictionary No Free
CrackStation Windows, MacOSX, Linux Dictionary No Free
Aircrack-Ng Windows, MacOSX, Linux Dictionary No Free
Ophcrack Windows, MacOSX, Linux Rainbow Table No Free
Medusa Linux, SunOS, BSD, and MacOSX Brute Force No Free
L0phtcrack Windows Dictionary, Brute Force Yes Free
RainbowCrack Windows, MacOSX, Linux Rainbow Tables No Free
WFuzz Windows, MacOSX, Linux Brute Force No Free

How Do Password Crackers Work?

Password crackers attempt to guess a password using various password-cracking methodologies, including brute force, dictionary, and combination attacks.

These attacks happen after a hacker has uncovered a password hash and needs to decipher it to discover the actual password. Alongside these methodologies, password-cracking tools use lists of commonly used words and algorithms to guess passwords.

How Long Does it Take to Crack a Password?

The time it takes to crack a password depends on the complexity of the password.

A short, simple password such as ‘Password1’ can be cracked very quickly with a brute force attack, whereas a more complex password, such as a long password using a mixture of characters, symbols, and different upper and lower case letters, will be much harder to crack.

With different password cracking tools specializing in different password cracking techniques and able to crack different hashes, it’s important that any password you create is complex and that you always turn on two-factor authentication on all of your accounts that facilitate it.

Top Password-Cracking Techniques That Hackers Use

It’s important to have an idea of some of the most common password-cracking techniques, with awareness, you can decrease the chances of any of your passwords ever being cracked. The top password-cracking techniques are:

1. Dictionary Attack

This attack involves using a simple file containing words found in a dictionary. This method is a systematic method of guessing a password by attempting to use as many common words and variations of those words as possible.

Dictionary attacks often uncover simple passwords, making it a popular cracking technique for users looking to uncover passwords for password-protected files shared between two people.

2. Brute Force Attack

Brute force attacks are very similar to dictionary attacks, but involve a hacker using a password cracker to try every single combination from a set of figures, commonly aaa1 to zzz10, to uncover a password.

Due to trying so many different combinations, this type of attack can take a long time. Still, it can be quickened up by hijacking the target device and using the processing power of that device to power the attack.

3. Rainbow Table Attacks

Rainbow table attacks are more sophisticated than brute force or dictionary attacks.

Hackers attempting a rainbow table attack have access to a precompiled list of all the possible passwords and their matching hashes; hackers then compare these hashes to any uncovered password hashes they discover in a company’s system.

If a hash match is revealed, a password is uncovered. Of course, there are other more manual methods of acquiring a password, such as simply guessing a users password until attempts run out.

Are There Free Password Cracking Tools?

Yes, all the password crackers we looked at are free to download.

Most password crackers are developed by an individual developer or team of developers and rely on volunteer developers for updates and new features. The best free password cracking tools are Hashcat, John The Ripper, and THC Hydra.

The Best Password Managers

Plenty of password managers are available to help keep your passwords safe. Top password managers such as NordPass, Avira, and Kaspersky have features that can generate complex passwords for their users.

Cybersecurity experts often recommend using a password manager alongside a VPN for extra online safety and privacy.

With NordPass, users don’t have to worry about remembering these complex passwords. The password manager will store them automatically when they log in to an app or service. You can check our top paid and free password managers here.

Password Cracker FAQs

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Conclusion | What’s the Best Password Cracker in 2024?

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the best password crackers you can use in 2024. On the whole, they’re all free to use — but with that said, Hashcat is our top choice for the best password cracker.