Password cracking refers to various measures used to discover computer passwords. This is usually accomplished by recovering passwords from data stored in, or transported from, a computer system. Password cracking is done by either repeatedly guessing the password, usually through a computer algorithm in which the computer tries numerous combinations until the password is successfully discovered.
Password cracking can be done for several reasons, but the most malicious reason is in order to gain unauthorized access to a computer without the computer owner’s awareness. This results in cybercrime such as stealing passwords for the purpose of accessing banking information.
Other, nonmalicious, reasons for password cracking occur when someone has misplaced or forgotten a password. Another example of nonmalicious password cracking may take place if a system administrator is conducting tests on password strength as a form of security so that hackers cannot easily access protected systems.