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If you have ever looked at any of your stored Windows passwords, you know that they are encrypted and look nothing like your actual password. That is because your system “hashes” the password, and the resulting gobbleygook is in fact known as a “password hash”. For those of you not familiar with password hashes (or other hashes), it’s useful to think of it as not unlike like a checksum. Your password is encrypted and scrambled up (“hashed”) in a certain way, based on a certain formula, such that the same password will always yield the same hash. Generally speaking, however, while the same password will lead to the same hash, you cannot deconstruct the hash to yield the password. That is why hashing a password is considered a security feature. Even though a hacker can get your password hashes from your computer, they are in theory useless because they still have no idea what the password is.
However, there are programs out there which will crack a hashed password, and now, thanks to a fellow over in France, there is a website where you can enter a hashed password, and have it cracked for you (gee thanks).
Check it out for yourself, if you want to, although Aunty would caution you to change the password you use before you submit it to the website!
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