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A Facebook User: Note that the app-specific passwords generated by Google are 16 lowercase characters long. That means 26 possibilities for each of the 16 positions. Assuming they're random-ish (and why wouldn't they be?), that means an attacker would have to try on the order of 26^16 different passwords, which is approximately 4 x 10^22. Let's say they can try one password per nanosecond, or a billion passwords per second. (In actuality, that's an overestimate, as Google rate-limits IMAP connections.) That's (4 x 10^22 passwords) / (10^9 passwords per second), or about 4 x 10^13 seconds, or about 1.2 million years. Really the expected time to crack a password is about half that, since the odds are good you'll find the password by the time you've gotten halfway through all the possible passwords. And, every app you enable essentially reduces the expected time to discover a working password. Still, with a cluster of 1,000 computers checking a billion passwords a second to find one of 10 app-specific passwords, it would still take about a century.
Toggle Commented Apr 18, 2012 on Make Your Email Hacker Proof at Coding Horror
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Apr 18, 2012