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PlayStation 3 used to crack passwords

We knew it was a seriously shiny bit of kit, but it turns out that Sony’s PlayStation 3 could have more nefarious uses. A researcher has made use of the machine’s Cell processor to crack 8-character passwords in a few hours – an attack that would have taken days using a high-end PC processor.

Nick Breese of New Zealand security firm Security Assessment presented his research at the Kiwicon security conference. He said that the Cell processor could carry out 1.4 billion cycles per second – a hundred times faster than a typical Intel processor’s 10-15 million – making it feasible to use it for “brute force” attacks on 8-character alphanumeric passwords.

To which we can only say – how cool is that? We recall stories around the time of the PlayStation 2 launch of it being banned in China because it was classified as military hardware… which of course made it absolutely imperative that we get our hands on one. The PlayStation 3 might just have made it onto our Christmas list…

(Image: from wili_hybrid’s flickr stream)

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