Building An Advanced Password Cracking Machine

Earlier this year, Triaxiom was set on building a new password cracking machine which would be a more advanced iteration than its predecessor, Thor. Simply put, a password cracking machine is a powerful computer which can run through billions of password guesses per second. This leads us to our new project – Loki.


While I admit I am not a well-read individual on Norse mythology, the name Loki for our new password cracking machine felt appropriate as alluded to earlier in this article that Triaxiom’s first cracking machine was named Thor. And while it may not be entirely accurate that in Norse mythology Loki is more powerful than Thor, in our case, Loki most certainly is. Before I jump into more information about our new cracking rig, here is a quick overview of what Triaxiom was (and still is) working with for Thor:

  • 4X Nvidia GTX 1080 Founders Edition GPUs
  • Asus X99-E WS Motherboard
  • G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200 64GB RAM
  • Intel Core i7-6800K CPU
  • Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler
  • Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD
  • EVGA SuperNova 1600W T2 PSU

Make no mistake about it, the above password cracking machine is a beast, very capable, and still can crack hashes with ease. However, as Triaxiom needed an additional machine to support multiple engineers and multiple engagements at once, it was time to build Loki. It should also be noted that this project was particularly difficult as GPUs were still at a near historic high in price and it was similarly a historically difficult time to purchase them due to supply chain shortages, battling against bots/scalpers, and incredibly low inventory in stores.

The Build:

All items in the Loki build were purchased new, except for the motherboard which was already on-hand at Triaxiom HQ.

  • 4X GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3080 OC 10GB GPUs
  • Asus X99-E WS Motherboard
  • G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3600 32GB  RAM
  • Intel Core i7-6800k 6th Gen CPU
  • Noctua NH-D15 CPU Cooler
  • Samsung 870 EVO 2TB SSD
  • EVGA SuperNova 2000W G+ PSU
  • AAAwave The Sluice V2 12GPU Open Frame Mining Rig Chassis
  • 6 Pack PCIE Riser Adapter Card for GPU Mining
  • Loki Figurine (possibly the most important piece here)

There are a couple of similarities and differences between Loki vs. Thor. With our Loki build, we wanted to build something that would be reliable and familiar, but also more powerful. Therefore, we used the same motherboard as before, continued to use the same CPU cooler model, went with a Samsung EVO SSD again, and stayed with the G.Skill TridentZ line. The differences however are pretty noticeable. Obviously, we’re using newer generation graphics cards with Loki which are much more powerful and will allow for more password guesses per second. But the biggest difference when looking at it is the form factor of our case. We opted to use a mining rig chassis that one would traditionally see on a cryptocurrency mining rig. This is advantageous for a couple of reasons. The open-air concept allows for quick cooling and airflow (as well as doubling as a space heater during winter). Additionally, it allows for expansion in the future should we decide to add more GPUs if we would like to distribute cracking power with something such as Hashtopolis.

Below are a few images of the build process, which was fairly straightforward as building a typical PC.

Build components
Building Loki
Complete Build

The Stats:

Okay so it looks cool and lights up (RGB of course), but how does it perform? Below is the output when running a benchmark against NTLM hashes as well as NetNTLMv2 hashes which an engineer would likely encounter during an Internal Penetration Test or a Password Database Audit:

* Hash-Mode 1000 (NTLM)
Speed.#1.........:   104.0 GH/s (21.56ms) @ Accel:128 Loops:1024 Thr:256 Vec:8
Speed.#2.........:   104.5 GH/s (21.56ms) @ Accel:128 Loops:1024 Thr:256 Vec:8
Speed.#3.........:   104.6 GH/s (21.57ms) @ Accel:128 Loops:1024 Thr:256 Vec:8
Speed.#4.........:   103.4 GH/s (21.79ms) @ Accel:128 Loops:1024 Thr:256 Vec:8
Speed.#*.........:   416.5 GH/s

416.5 GH/s = 416,500,000,000 hashes per second!

* Hash-Mode 5600 (NetNTLMv2)
Speed.#1.........:  4176.1 MH/s (68.14ms) @ Accel:32 Loops:512 Thr:256 Vec:1
Speed.#2.........:  4166.1 MH/s (68.35ms) @ Accel:8 Loops:1024 Thr:512 Vec:1
Speed.#3.........:  4176.2 MH/s (68.18ms) @ Accel:8 Loops:1024 Thr:512 Vec:1
Speed.#4.........:  4137.5 MH/s (68.84ms) @ Accel:8 Loops:1024 Thr:512 Vec:1
Speed.#*.........: 16656.0 MH/s

16656.0 MH/s = 16,656,000,000 hashes per second!

The results are hard to believe that this could be possible. Additionally, while this password cracking machine has been designed for a very specific purpose, an average gaming PC is still very powerful and can perform the same cracking functions as above, albeit at a slower rate. For this reason, it is incredibly important for organizations to focus on educating their employees on the use of strong passwords or passphrases.