10 Best Password Crackers Reviewed for 2024

The best password crackers will help you retrieve your forgotten passwords to access accounts you lost or abandoned. Organizations often use top password crackers to test the strength of their passwords, ensuring the security of company data or a tool they might be trying.

However, given the security concerns and the number of options available, choosing a password cracker isn’t easy. Luckily for you, we’ve done thorough research to zero in on the 10 best password crackers based on criteria like safety, the cracking technique used, speed, and pricing. Read on to find out why platforms like AirCrack, Password Cracker, and Rainbow Crack are among the best in the business.

10 Best Password Cracker Software Solutions Ranked

AirCrack stands tall as the best password cracker thanks to features like wide system compatibility, easy WiFi access, and a wide knowledge base. Here’s how it stacks up against others on the list:

  1. AirCrack — The best password cracker in 2024 with helpful documentation to help you access WiFi whenever you need it.
  2. Password Cracker — Get multi-language support reveal your old Windows passwords.
  3. Rainbow Crack — Access pre-made Rainbow Tables to attempt brute for password cracking, or build your own.
  4. Medusa — Test your organization’s password health with this cracker tool, with the right technical know-how.
  5. Brutus — When you need to crack a Windows password, this is your go-to tool, it’s the best free password cracker for the OS.
  6. Crack Station — Create a free account and contribute to the tool’s comprehensive look-up tables to start cracking passwords.
  7. OphCrack — An open-source password cracker using brute force techniques that work across Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  8. Hashcat — A comprehensive tool to crack multiple passwords at once across OSs and devices, trusted by security testers.
  9. John the Ripper — Check your password health locally or remotely using multiple password cracking techniques.
  10. THC Hydra — The best WiFi password cracker that also helps check your mobile and web app password health.

10 Best Password Cracker Tools Reviewed

To help you find the best one for your needs, we’ve taken a detailed look at each of our top recommendations, including their best features, pros, cons, and pricing. Ready?

1. AirCrack — The Best Overall Password Cracker for 2024

AirCrack is a popular wireless network scanner used for hacking, penetration testing, and network administration. You can use it to crack both WPA and WEP passwords. Its algorithm is designed to analyze encrypted packets and crack them. Together with its FMS attack feature, it can crack any password easily.

aircrack best password cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free 1. Open-source platform

2. Complete WiFi network security

3. Multiple supported algorithms

Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, and eComStation

This feature can be used in two ways:

  1. You can access WiFi networks that you don’t have access to
  2. You can use it to improve the security of your own WiFi password by testing connections and monitoring fake access points.

Our favorite thing about AirCrack is its detailed documentation. It has a section dedicated to installation guides, getting started, and device compatibility. The instructions are simple to follow, ensuring that even beginners can set it up on their own.

It also has a special forum for all its users where you can post queries regarding the platform and have other fellow users help you out. If that doesn’t suffice, you can join its channel on Libera Chat to interact directly with the team.

To top it off, AirCrack is completely free to use. It’s also compatible with several systems, including OS X, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, and eComStation2.

Pros

  • Works with many operating systems
  • Works even with wireless network encryption
  • Provides command line for an instant grind
  • Popular password cracker with many positive reviews

Cons

  • Some advanced features might be difficult to use

2. Password Cracker — Multi-Language Password Tracker for Windows

Password Cracker is a simpler tool designed to discover hidden and forgotten passwords. Note that you’ll have to download the tool to set it up. However, it’s completely free to use, just like AirCrack. Plus, you can use it across any Windows device or even on your browser so that you never have to worry about misplaced passwords.

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free 1. Offline tool, hence no leaks

2. Can view hidden passwords

3. Multiple languages

Windows

A lot of applications use asterisks to hide your passwords for security reasons, which might force you to note it down elsewhere, like in one of the best password managers. However, with Password Cracker, you can bid farewell to that hassle. All that you have to do is hover the cursor over the Test Field, and it’ll show you your password.

What if your system is set to a different language? Luckily for you, Password Cracker is compatible with multiple languages. That said, the only thing that we didn’t like about Password Cracker is that it can’t crack MS Office password-protected documents because its password encryption style isn’t supported.

But on the brighter side, it’s fairly simple to use and already has over a million downloads. Additionally, despite its huge customer base, there hasn’t been any report of data or hash leaks so far, making it evidently safer than most other password-cracking options.

Pros

  • It supports multiple languages
  • Known for its ease of use
  • No hash leaks, making it entirely safe
  • Fast password cracking

Cons

  • Works only for Windows application

3. Rainbow Crack — The Best Online Hash Cracker That Uses Rainbow Tables

Rainbow Crack sets itself apart from others that rely on brute force to crack passwords. Instead, it uses a unique large-scale time-memory technique to help you retrieve hash passwords for free. Overall, it’s a desktop tool that’s best known for quick password cracking.

rainbow crack password cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. Command line and GUI interface
  2. Uses large-scale-time-memory-trade-off
  3. Rainbow tables can be purchased
Windows and Linux

The results from the time-memory method are then stored in a Rainbow Table, which is then used to crack the codes using brute force. While creating the Rainbow Table can be painstaking, you’ll be able to crack passwords at lightning speed once it’s ready.

Also, since having a pre-computed table of passwords and hash pairs simplifies password cracking, a good deal of software these days adds a unique twist to the passwords with a random value. While such passwords will require a larger rainbow table to crack, Rainbow Crack is certainly capable of handling it.

You can either create your own custom rainbow tables or make use of Rainbow Crack’s pre-designed templates. It offers a generous range of free tables for LANMAN, NTLM, MD5, and SHA1 password systems. If needed, you can also opt for paid tables.

Another benefit of using Rainbow Crack is that it supports both Windows and Linux devices. For Windows, the current software will support versions 7 and 10. For Linux, it’ll support 18.04 and 20.04.

Pros

  • One of the fastest password crackers
  • Higher success probability
  • Requires fewer processing resources
  • Easy and quick authentications without hurdles

Cons

  • Requires a lot of storage

4. Medusa — Test Your Passwords’ Strength with This Password Cracker

Medusa uses brute force parallel testing to help you crack passwords and retrieve your forgotten passwords for free. It’s quite similar to THC Hydra and was created for the same purpose. However, there are a few significant differences at the technical level.

Medusa password cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. Stable and fast logins
  2. Has a GPL-2 license
  3. Test over 2,000 in less than a minute
Linux, SunOS, BSD, and macOS

For instance, Medusa has a GPL-2 license, whereas THC Hydra has a GPL-3 license. The benefit of a GPL-2 license is that it comes with stricter copyleft protections, meaning more security.

As a fast-paced command line tool, Medusa can test up to 2,000 passwords in a minute. Along with a list of passwords to try, you can also get a list of usernames and email addresses to test during the process.

This feature will help you conduct thread-based multiple-processing procedures to crack passwords, which will make the whole process faster and more efficient for you. However, it’s a command-line tool, meaning you’ll need some command-line knowledge to use it.

The best part is that you don’t need access to the target device to crack the password — Medusa lets you access and enter the system remotely, and it supports multiple protocols, such as HTTP, MB, MS-SQL, POP3, and SSHv2. Hence, regardless of the device type or network, Medusa will certainly help you retrieve the password.

Pros

  • Allows remote access to systems
  • Works on various devices and systems
  • No unnecessary information duplication
  • Can perform thread-based parallel testing

Cons

  • Requires command-line knowledge

5. Brutus — The Best 4-Digit Password Cracker

Brutus was released in 2000 and has kept its position as one of the fastest and most flexible remote password-cracking tools. The tool is completely free to use and so far only serves Windows devices.

In terms of flexibility, it’s one of the few password-cracking tools that lets you pause, resume, or import an attack. For instance, if you’re trying to crack a password on your existing system and realize it can’t run the function, you can immediately pause and import it to a different system without losing your progress.

Brutus-Password-Cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. SOCK proxy for all authentications
  2. Error handling and recovery
  3. Load and resume
Windows

The only thing that we didn’t like about Brutus is that it hasn’t been updated in a long time. Hence, it’s not suitable for complex passwords that use a combination of digits, letters, and special characters.

Also, since its services are limited to Windows devices, you can practically only use it to break into social media accounts or email IDs. Simply put, it does a few things, but it does them well.

To make up for its shortcomings, it offers a wide variety of authentication protocols such as HTTP (basic authentication), HTTP (HTML Form/CGI), POP3, FTP, SMB, Telnet, IMAP, and so on. If needed, you can also add custom modules to it. Plus, to top it off, Brutus also offers up to 60 simultaneous connections for all users.

Pros

  • One of the fastest password crackers
  • You can create your own authentication type
  • A handy load and resume function
  • A multi-stage authentication engine

Cons

  • Only works on Windows
  • Not updated since 2000

6. CrackStation — Leading Password Cracker with Dictionary Attacks

CrackStation uses pre-computed lookup tables to help you crack the code to an application or device, just like Rainbow Crack. These tables contain the mapping between the hash of a password and the correct password for that hash. To speed up the search process for a hash value, each entry is indexed.

If the password that you’re looking for is in the table, it’ll only take you a few seconds to crack it. CrackStation’s technique is a variation of dictionary attacks containing a combination of both dictionary words and public password dumps.

crackstation password cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. Web-based password cracker
  2. Uses dictionary attack technique
  3. Works on mobile devices
N/A

In total, the lookup tables contain over 15 billion entries extracted from various online sources. In short, there’s hardly any password CrackStation can’t crack. Additionally, you don’t even have to create an account to get started.

Once you visit the website, you can directly add up to 20 unsalted hashes per line on the home page, confirm you’re a human, and crack the passwords — that’s how simple it is. The only con is that it doesn’t work with salted passwords.

Password salting is a common technique to enhance the strength of a password by attacking a random string of characters. As such, this is also a common practice incorporated by the best business password managers.

That said, these passwords aren’t usually used on personal devices, so CrackStation remains a great choice.

Pros

  • Works on any operating system
  • Supports various protocols
  • A simple setup, making it easy to use
  • Doesn’t store any user data

Cons

  • Only uses non-salted hashes

7. OphCrack — The Most Versatile Password Finder 

OphCrack is a free Windows password cracker tool based on rainbow tables, similar to Rainbow Crack and CrackStation. Along with Windows (which it’s primarily designed for), it also supports Linux/Unix and MacOS X systems.

Ophcrack password cracker

In our research, OphCrack successfully recovered 99.99% of alphanumeric passwords — the ones commonly used on personal devices. For simple passwords like these, it uses a brute-force module which is basically a trial-and-error method — success is almost guaranteed with this technique.

Along with its quick cracking system, it’s also popular for its user-friendly interface. While most other password-cracking tools require a substantial amount of technical expertise, you can get started with OphCrack even if you aren’t tech-savvy.

OphCrack is best equipped to crack LM and NTLM passwords — the two ways all passwords on Windows devices are stored. If you need assistance cracking the passwords, you’ll also find a live CD of OphCrack on cracking Windows-based passwords.

Since OphCrack is a free and open-source platform, all tech experts are welcome to look at its fundamental codes if they find any discrepancies within the platform. This way, you won’t have to wait for OphCrack’s team to fix the issues before you can go back to password cracking.

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. OphCrack LiveCD
  2. Works on LM and NTLM hashes
  3. Uses rainbow tables
Linux, Windows, and FreeBSD

Pros

  • A simple user interface
  • No requirement for prior passwords
  • Works even on Mac, Linux, OS X, and Unix
  • Doesn’t require software installation

Cons

  • Can’t recover 14-character or longer passwords

8. Hashcat — The Fastest Password Cracker to Crack Complex Passwords

Hashcat identifies itself as the world’s fastest password-cracking tool. Empowered with GPU acceleration, it outperforms John the Ripper in terms of speed. It’s also the only password recovery platform that has an in-kernel rule engine, which is why it’s commonly used by pen testers and red teamers to test password policies.

hashcat password cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. Automatic password recovery
  2. Supports over 300 hashes
  3. In-kernel rule engine
Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, and Windows mobile

What makes it stand apart from the competition is that it’s available for almost every operating system and cracks 300 different types of hashes. This means that no matter what kind of password the target device has, Hashcat is the most-equipped tool to crack it, and you won’t need the support of any secondary tool.

That said, Hashcat‘s biggest USP is simultaneous password cracking. With its highly parallelized password-cracking technique, you’ll be able to crack multiple passwords on multiple devices at the same time and also distribute the hash-cracking system via overlays. This makes the whole process a hundred times more efficient. Need we say more?

Along with remote password recovery, Hashcat can also help you with offline password recovery exercises. Its most common method of cracking is a Dictionary Attack, where the target password is matched with a dictionary list of common phrases and words used by businesses and individuals.

Hashcat takes it a step ahead by allowing you to add custom rules to the attack technique, which will certainly speed up the process.

Pros

  • Works even on mobile devices
  • Doesn’t store any passwords
  • One of the fastest password crackers
  • Employs various password-cracking techniques

Cons

  • Limited application compared to peers

9. John the Ripper — An Open-Source Password Cracker to Identify Weak Passwords

John the Ripper is an open-source password auditing and password recovery tool. It’s compatible with several device types, including Linux, Windows, and macOS, as well as web apps such as WordPress and much more.

What makes it unique is that it helps you with both local and remote password recovery. For instance, if you’ve lost access to your work device, you can use its local password recovery feature.

john the ripper password cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. A GUI based paid version
  2. Multi-platform
  3. Extensive command lines
Windows, macOS, and Linux

On the other hand, if you need access to a device while you’re away on a trip, you can benefit from John the Ripper’s remote password recovery feature.

It uses Brute Force attacks and Dictionary Attacks to crack passwords, and it’s usually used by security experts of large organizations and companies to check the strength of their office system passwords.

While it’s primarily built to detect UNIX passwords, it can now also detect Windows LM and other types of password hashes. That said, what makes it slightly different from other password-cracking tools is that it has two versions:

  1. A free, open-source version that anyone can download. These features are best suited for non-commercial purposes.
  2. A commercial version, which is also free, available for Linux and macOS X on Intel and AMD processors.

The only difference between the two is that the Pro version is in native format and meant for specific operating systems only.

Pros

  • An open-source tool that’s free to use
  • Combines various password-cracking methods
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Available in over 20 languages

Cons

  • Difficult to set up

10. THC Hydra — One of the Best WiFi Password Crackers Across Multiple Devices

THC Hydra is commonly used by security consultants and researchers for testing the security functionalities of applications and systems and looking out for vulnerabilities.

It supports 50+ protocols — one of the largest number of security protocols supported by any password-cracking tool. These protocols include HTTPS, Oracle, SID, Telnet, and more.

THC Hydra password cracker

Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
Free
  1. Multi-threaded combination testing
  2. Simultaneous protocol checks
  3. External word list supported
Windows, macOS, Linux, Free BSD, and Solaris

Another benefit of using THC Hydra is that its functions aren’t limited to any one platform. Its algorithm works with Windows, macOS, and Unix devices. It’s also one of the few password-cracking tools that support mobile devices such as Androids, iPhones, and Blackberry. No matter what your target device is, you can gain access to it with just one tool.

That said, THC Hydra uses a brute-force password-guessing attack technique to crack the codes. Here, the tool uses every combination of letters, numbers, and special characters until it finds the password. Despite being one of the most common techniques, it’s efficient and has minimum chances of error.

Also, since it’s open-source software — like OphCrack and John the Ripper — you can check its code and contribute to the structure to transform the tool and make it more equipped to handle passwords.

Pros

  • A fast password-cracking solution
  • Supports numerous protocols
  • Works with Dictionary and Brute Force attacks
  • Compatible with Linux, Windows, OS X, and Solaris

Cons

  • Can slow your system a bit

The Best Tools for Password Cracking Compared

Here’s a quick table highlighting the key differences between all of our top picks to help you arrive at a decision:

Password Cracker Free or Paid Top Features Compatibility
AirCrack Free
  1. Open source platform
  2. Complete WiFi network security
  3. Multiple supported algorithms
Windows, Linux,  macOS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, and eComStation
Password Cracker Free
  1. Offline tool, hence no leaks
  2. Can view hidden passwords
  3. Multiple languages
Windows
Rainbow Crack Free
  1. Command line and GUI interface
  2. Uses large-scale-time-memory-trade-off
  3. Rainbow tables can be purchased
Windows and Linux
Medusa Free
  1. Stable and fast logins
  2. Has a GPL-2 license
  3. Test over 2,000 in less than a minute
Linux, SunOS, BSD, and macOS
Brutus Free
  1. SOCK proxy for all authentications
  2. Error handling and recovery
  3. Load and resume
Windows
CrackStation Free
  1. Web-based password cracker
  2. Uses Dictionary attack technique
  3. Works on mobile devices
N/A
OphCrack Free
  1. OphCrack LiveCD
  2. Works on LM and NTLM hashes
  3. Uses rainbow tables
Linux, Windows, and FreeBSD
Hashcat Free
  1. Automatic password recovery
  2. Supports over 300 hashes
  3. In-kernel rule engine
Windows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS, and Windows mobile
John the Ripper Free
  1. A GUI based paid version
  2. Multi-platform
  3. Extensive command lines
Windows, macOS, and Linux
THC Hydra Free
  1. Multi-threaded combination testing
  2. Simultaneous protocol checks
  3. External wordlist supported
Windows, macOS, Linux, Free BSD, and Solaris

How Do Password Crackers Work?

Password cracking is the technique of utilizing a software application to find lost or forgotten passwords. There are dozens of password-cracking applications available, each with its unique formula. Still, they all mainly do one of two tasks:

  1. Either generate password variations from a dictionary of well-known passwords or
  2. Use a technique known as a Brute Force attack to try every combination.

Password cracking applications work by processing and analyzing large volumes of hashes using different ways. Like fingerprints used for identification, a hash converts an input string into a shorter-length output string.

Once the real password is discovered, other codes with the same traits can also be cracked. For instance, if someone knew how 5% of individuals create their passwords, one may extend that knowledge to create a dictionary for all 3,700 additional characters (lower and uppercase letters, symbols, and digits), which account for 93% of potential passwords.

How Long Does it Take to Crack a Password?

Wondering how long it’ll take to break an 8-character password like “password”? You might be surprised by the answer — 2 minutes. If your security code is one of the most popular (like qwerty or 123456), a hacker can guess it in a split second.

If a password is only five or six characters long (whether just numbers or a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols), it’ll likely be hacked immediately. An eight-letter lowercase password might take an average of five minutes with a minute of processing time.

An 8-character password, on the other hand, takes longer to decode if it’s at least one number or special character. However, if a password is simply digits and up to 18 characters long, it may take an attacker up to nine months to figure it out. Clearly, the stronger the password, the more difficult it is to crack.

Combining different character kinds (uppercase and lowercase letters, special symbols, and numerals) will strengthen your character combo and extend the cracking time from milliseconds to millennia.

Top Password-Cracking Techniques That Hackers Use

To prevent any data leak attempts, you need to get in the shoes of a hacker. Here are some popular password-cracking techniques and tips for preventing them:

Brute Force Attack

Brute force attacks include hackers guessing their way into a user’s profile using several methods, generally on a trial-and-error basis. Brute force password crackers generate hashes from millions of potential passwords and compare them to the hash of your password. This might involve attackers attempting to use well-known passwords, such as “password123,” against a recognized username.

Dictionary Attack

As the name suggests, the dictionary attack uses an easy file containing phrases that can be accessed in a dictionary. In other words, the terms used in this attack are exactly the same ones many people use as their passwords. The process requires a lot of computing, which makes it highly time-consuming.

Rainbow Table Attack

Rainbow table attacks eliminate the need to keep many password-hash combinations. Rainbow tables remember bits of hashes before attempting to retrieve the entire string, reducing volume and making every password-hash match much easier to find.

Rainbow table attacks can be prevented by employing several measures, such as the salt technique, which involves adding random data to passwords before hashing them.

Spidering

This scans an organization’s external or internal communications for phrases or words that staff members may use as passwords. The more marketing materials and training manuals a business has, the easier it’ll be to guess its passwords.

Really clever hackers have automated the process and use spidering software, such as those used by top search engines to find keywords, to gather and merge the lists on their behalf.

Are There Free Password Cracking Tools?

Yes, there are free password-cracking tools available, such as RainbowCrack. This free desktop tool is specifically designed for cracking password hashes and can recover passwords from various online applications.

It offers a faster password-cracking solution than other brute force crackers, using a time-memory trade-off technique to compute passwords. The results are then stored in a rainbow table, which can crack passwords through brute force methods.

However, not all free tools are reliable; some free password crackers are prone to security issues, with no regular updates, and lack advanced features. Thus, it’s advisable to be cautious when using these tools and shift to paid ones that guarantee quality and security.

Password Cracker FAQs

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What kind of password is easiest to crack?

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What is a password cracker test?

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

Our list of the best password cracker tools has something for everyone. Whether you want to work with command lines or require a simpler GUI interface — we’ve got it all.

As for our top recommendation, it has to be AirCrack. It stands a notch ahead of others on the list, banking on features like fast password cracking, a huge knowledge base, and wide compatibility. Don’t take our word — try it out yourself without any costs and risks.

Krishi Chowdhary
Tech Expert

Krishi Chowdhary has half a decade of experience writing buying guides and product reviews for numerous leading technology websites. He spent two years writing for Business2Community.com before joining Techopedia.com. He has a degree in Commerce and extensive experience in the technology industry. He's also the key driver behind TechReport.com's news content, delivering expertise insight into the latest tech and cybersecurity news daily.