Browse Definitions :
Definition

rainbow table

A rainbow table is a listing of all possible plaintext permutations of encrypted passwords specific to a given hash algorithm.

Rainbow tables are often used by password cracking software for network security attacks. All computer systems that require password-based authentication store databases of passwords associated with user accounts, typically encrypted rather than plaintext as a security measure.  

Once an attacker gains access to a system’s password database, the password cracker compares the rainbow table’s precompiled list of potential hashes to hashed passwords in the database. The rainbow table associates plaintext possibilities with each of those hashes, which the attacker can then exploit to access the network as an authenticated user.

Rainbow tables make password cracking much faster than earlier methods, such as brute-force cracking and dictionary attacks. Depending on the particular software, rainbow tables can be used to crack 14-character alphanumeric passwords in about 160 seconds. However the approach uses a lot of RAM due to the large amount of data in such a table.

Rainbow tables have only become viable recently because the amount of available RAM in older computers was inadequate. A single rainbow table for a standard alphanumeric file is close to 4 gigabytes (GB). Adding symbols to the mix increases the amount of memory required, as does each step up in encryption.

To protect against attacks using rainbow tables, system administrators should add security measures to password encryption, such as the addition of randomly generated  characters (salt) to password hashes and avoiding the use of outdated password hashing algorithms.

This was last updated in January 2015

Continue Reading About rainbow table

SearchNetworking
  • network packet

    A network packet is a basic unit of data that's grouped together and transferred over a computer network, typically a ...

  • virtual network functions (VNFs)

    Virtual network functions (VNFs) are virtualized tasks formerly carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware.

  • network functions virtualization (NFV)

    Network functions virtualization (NFV) is a network architecture model designed to virtualize network services that have ...

SearchSecurity
  • Android System WebView

    Android System WebView is a system component for the Android operating system (OS) that allows Android apps to display web ...

  • data masking

    Data masking is a method of creating a structurally similar but inauthentic version of an organization's data that can be used ...

  • computer worm

    A computer worm is a type of malware whose primary function is to self-replicate and infect other computers while remaining ...

SearchCIO
  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or ...

  • contingent workforce

    A contingent workforce is a labor pool whose members are hired by an organization on an on-demand basis.

  • product development (new product development -- NPD)

    Product development, also called new product management, is a series of steps that includes the conceptualization, design, ...

SearchHRSoftware
  • talent acquisition

    Talent acquisition is the strategic process employers use to analyze their long-term talent needs in the context of business ...

  • employee retention

    Employee retention is the organizational goal of keeping productive and talented workers and reducing turnover by fostering a ...

  • hybrid work model

    A hybrid work model is a workforce structure that includes employees who work remotely and those who work on site, in a company's...

SearchCustomerExperience
  • Salesforce Trailhead

    Salesforce Trailhead is a series of online tutorials that coach beginner and intermediate developers who need to learn how to ...

  • Salesforce

    Salesforce, Inc. is a cloud computing and social enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider based in San Francisco.

  • data clean room

    A data clean room is a technology service that helps content platforms keep first person user data private when interacting with ...

Close