Here’s an innovative use of recycled HD-video electronics:
NSA@home is a fast FPGA-based SHA-1 and MD5 bruteforce cracker. It is capable of searching the full 8-character keyspace (from a 64-character set) in about a day in the current configuration for 800 hashes concurrently.
The cracker is built out of surplus Grass Valley HD video transform boards, scrapped by GV because of defects. A useful tool was developed to assist the board reverse-engineering effort.
The author, Stanislaw Skowronek, will be providing a web interface in the near future, that will allow a few submissions to be cracked online.
It’s pretty cool to think that brute force attacks have become computationally feasible and cheaply available for today’s most commonly used cyptographic hash algorithms. It’s 2^96 times harder to brute-force SHA-256, but who knows what tomorrow’s defective consumer electronics will be packing.
NSA@home – Link