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Date: Fri, 14 Oct 2005 00:20:31 +0200
From: "Frank Dittrich" <>
Subject: Re: Using Hardwareaccelerators to speed up John

Solar Designer wrote:

>However, not all is lost.  There are things which actually would work:
>1. General-purpose FPGA-based boards.  These would need to be programmed
>for the very specific task.  I briefly evaluated this possibility back
>in 1998-1999 and it appeared that FPGAs would deliver roughly 5 times
>better DES performance for the money, compared against the most suitable
>CPUs (at the time, that was Alpha 21164PC - affordable and really good
>at bitslice DES).  I used retail prices; the improvement could be a lot
>better for large quantities.

I think the technology has improved a lot.
(IIRC, "basic functionality of john the ripper" merely implemented
brute forcing a part of the key space.
But it should also be possible to let john create the password
candidates, and calculate (and compare) the hashes using FPGA
hardware, using an order of magnitude larger MAX_KEYS_PER_CRYPT
value than for general purpose CPUs.)

Also have a look at the slides:
David Hulton claimed you'd be able to "crack password hashes as fast as
100+ PCs using FPGA PCMCIA cards on your laptop".

Regards, Frank

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