Most Popular Tools for Brute-Force Attacks in 2021

In the Cybersecurity world, one of the most common password-cracking methods is still the brute force attack. It isn’t just used for password cracking. It can also be used to find hidden pages and content within a web application. This attack follows the try until you succeed formula. Although this attack can take longer, its success rate is greater.

This article will explain brute force attacks and the most popular tools that can be used to perform brute force attacks to achieve desired results.

Topics covered in this article are:

What is Brute Force Attack?

An attacker uses a predefined set of values to attack a target and then analyzes the response to determine if he succeeds. The set of predetermined values is what determines success. Brute Force attacks take longer, but they have a higher chance of success.

The dictionary attack to crack passwords is the most popular and easy-to-understand form of brute force. The dictionary attack is a brute force attack in which the attacker creates a password dictionary with millions of words that can be used to crack passwords. For authentication, the attacker attempts these passwords one at a time. The attacker will succeed if the dictionary contains the correct password.

A traditional brute force attack is where the attacker attempts to combine letters and numbers to create a password. This traditional method will take longer if the password is too long. These attacks can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, or even several years, depending on the complexity of the password and what system it uses.

Long and complex passwords are best to prevent brute force attacks from cracking passwords. It makes it difficult for attackers to guess the password, and brute force attacks take too long. Another way to stop attackers from using brute force attacks against web applications is account lockout.

Brute Force attacks can also be used to discover hidden pages by guessing the page’s name, sending requests, and then waiting for the response. It will return a 404 response if the page is not found. If it succeeds, the response will read 200. This allows the attacker to find hidden pages on any website.

Brute force can also be used to crack a hash and guess the password from a given hash value. This involves creating a hash from random passwords, then matching it with a target hash value until the attacker finds one. This can be prevented by using a higher level of encryption, such as 64-bit, 128 bit, or 256 bits.

How does Brute Force Attack work?

Attackers use automated tools to carry out brute force attacks. Those who lack the skills to build their own tools can buy them on the dark web as malware kits. You can also buy data, such as leaked credentials, that can be used in a credential stuffing attack or hybrid brute force attack. These lists can be included in a package that includes automated tools and other value-adds such as management consoles.

The attacker must set up their tools and seed them with the relevant lists.

Botnets can be used to conduct brute force attacks. Botnets can be used to steal computing power from legitimate users. Bot kits, like the malware kits previously mentioned, can also be bought on the dark web.

Brute force attacks can be resource-intensive, but they are very effective.

Types of Brute Force Attacks?

  1. A simple brute force attack uses a systematic approach to guessing that does not rely on logic from outside.
  2. Hybrid brute force attacks–Starts with external logic to determine what password variation is most likely to succeed and then proceeds to the simple approach of trying many variations.
  3. Dictionary attacks –guesses usernames and passwords using a dictionary with possible strings or phrases.
  4. Rainbow table attacks – A rainbow table is a pre-computed table that reverses the cryptographic hash function. It can be used for guessing a function of up to a specified length using a limited number of characters.
  5. Reverse brute force attack–uses one password or a collection of passwords to defeat many usernames. The attackers target a network of users from which they have previously gained data.
  6. Credential stuffing – Uses previously-known password username pairs and tries them against multiple websites, exploiting the fact that different systems may have the same username/password.

Tools used for Brute Force Attacks

1) Aircrack-ng

This popular brute force password cracker for WiFi is free. This tool includes a WEP/WPA/WPA2-PSK hacker and analysis tools that allow you to attack WiFi 802.11. Aircrack-ng is compatible with any NIC that supports raw monitoring mode.

To guess the password, it basically uses dictionary attacks to attack a wireless network. The dictionary of passwords is key to the success of this attack. The more efficient and effective the password dictionary, the greater the chance it will crack the password.

In addition to being compatible with Windows and Linux OS,

It can also be ported to work on iOS and Android platforms. 

2) Gobuster

Gobuster can be used to brute force fast and doesn’t require a runtime. It uses the Go language directory scanner; it is faster and more flexible than interpreted script.


  • Gobuster is also known for its incredible concurrency support, allowing it to handle multiple tasks and extensions and maintain its processing speed.
  • This lightweight tool does not have Java GUI and works only on the command line for many platforms.
  • Help is built-in


  • dir – The classic directory mode
  • dns – DNS subdomain mode
  • s3 – Find open S3 buckets, and search for their existence.
  • vhost – Virtual host mode

However, it has one flaw: poor recursive directory search, which makes it less effective for directories with multiple levels.

3) Rainbow Crack

Rainbow Crack is a popular brute-forcing tool that can be used to crack passwords. It differs from traditional brute force tools because it generated Rainbow tables. Rainbow tables can be pre-calculated, which reduces the time required to perform the attack.

There are many organizations that have made the pre-computer rainbow tables available for internet users. You can save time by downloading the rainbow tables and using them in your attacks.

The tool is still under active development. It’s available for Windows and Linux and supports all the latest versions.

4) THC Hydra

Hydra is one of the most popular tools for cracking logins on Linux and Windows. It can be used for Solaris, FreeBSD/OpenBSD, QNX (Blackberry 10), as well as macOS. It supports many protocols, including AFP, HTTP-FORM-GET, and HTTP-GET. HTTP-FORM-POST, HTTP-HEAD, HTTP-PROXY, and many more.

Hydra is installed by default on Kali Linux. It comes with both graphical and command-line versions. The brute-forcing method can be used to crack one or more usernames/passwords.

Hydra is the only tool that supports multiple protocols and parallel connections.

5) Ophcrack

Ophcrack is a free and open-source brute-forcing tool used to crack Windows passwords. It cracks Windows passwords using LM hashes and rainbow tables.

It can usually crack Windows passwords in just a few minutes. Ophcrack includes rainbow tables that can crack passwords of less than 14 characters. These tables contain only alphanumeric characters. You can also download other rainbow tables.

6) Patator

Patator is a brute force tool that can be used for multiple purposes and has a modular design.

Patator is written in Python and is designed to be more flexible than its ancestors and provide a trusted service. There are many modules it supports, including the ones listed below.

  • FTP
  • SSH
  • MySQL
  • SMTP
  • Telnet
  • DNS

7) Hashcat

Hashcat claims it is the fastest CPU-based password cracking software. It’s free and available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS platforms. Hashcat supports many hashing algorithms, including LM Hashes and MD4, MD5, SHA family, Unix Crypt format, MySQL, and Cisco PIX. It can support various attacks such as brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, fingerprint attacks & hybrid attacks.

How to prevent Brute Force Attacks?

For your organization to be protected against brute force password hacking attempts, use strong passwords. Rules to follow include

  • Don’t use any information that can easily be searched or found online (e.g., names of family members, birthdays, anniversaries).
  • Include as many characters as you can.
  • Combining letters, numbers, symbols
  • Password for each user account should be unique.
  • Avoid common patterns.

Administrators have options to protect their users against brute force password cracking by implementing.

  • Lockout policy – You can lock an account after multiple failed login attempts and unlock it by the administrator.
  • Progressive delays – After failed login attempts, accounts can be locked out for a time. Each failed login attempt increases the delay.
  • Captcha -To log in to a system, users must complete simple tasks using tools like reCAPTCHA. These tasks can be completed by users easily, while brute force tools are not able to.
  • You must require users to create long and complex passwords. Periodic password changes should be enforced.
  • Two-factor authentication – You can use multiple factors for authenticating identity and granting access to accounts.


After reading this article, we hope you now have many tools to choose from. You can choose what you need for every situation. Sometimes the most simple tools work best. In other cases, the reverse is true.

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