When cracking passwords, it is sometimes useful to try specifically formatted passwords. This post describes how you can generate a big list of passwords conforming to a specific pattern.
Cracking passwords with lists
Password cracking tools such as hashcat, John the Ripper or Hydra try a large number of passwords to find the correct one. As input, they typically take a text file containing a large list of possible passwords. Lists of passwords that were leaked are typically used. However, sometimes you have some clue as to the format of the passwords. For example, they start with an uppercase character and end with a number. In this case, you can use a tool that creates a list of words conforming to a specific pattern. Below are some tools that can do that.
Hashcat has built-in support for masks, but there is also a tool that converts a hashcat mask into a list: maskprocessor. You can specify character sets, and use those character sets in a mask. You can specify up to four own your own character sets, and there are these built-in character sets:
?l, lowercase letters
?u, uppercase letters
?a, all printable ASCII characters
?b, all possible bytes
It is possible to combine static text with masks. Consider the following command:
This will output the following list:
password0 password1 password2 password3 password4 password5 password6 password7 password8 password9
An alternative to hashcat’s masks is to use regular expressions to define patterns. Exrex is a tool that outputs all possible matches to a given regex. If you are already familiar with regular expressions, this is a great way to generate word lists.
Consider this example:
python exrex.py '(password|secret)[1-3]'
This outputs the following list:
password1 password2 password3 secret1 secret2 secret3
Although regular expressions are actually meant for matching strings instead of generating strings, this method works great if you are already familiar with regular expressions. It allows you to quickly generate a list of passwords if you have some clue as to what they are.
For example, if you perform a pentest and get an account with the password
Spring2017, you may want to use the following regex to create similar passwords:
This post showed two ways to generate custom password lists matching a specific pattern, which can help when cracking passwords.