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Russian tool cracks open Internet passwords

A cracking tool which has been released by a Russian company can extract cached passwords from a wide range of Microsoft applications.

The £49 tool can retrieve user names and passwords entered using all versions of Microsoft Outlook Express, Outlook, Windows Mail and Windows Live Mail. The tool also makes it possible to instantly replace or reset IE Content Advisor passwords

Elcomsoft Internet Password Breaker is being touted as a forensic tool for criminal investigators but it appears that the company will sell it to anyone willing to cough up the cash.

As well as user names and passwords, the software can also retrieve any other information stored in autofill forms including phone numbers and personal mailing addresses, with obvious implications for identity theft.

"ElcomSoft is offering a simple and convenient tool to be used by forensic specialists and government investigators", said Vladimir Katalov, ElcomSoft's CEO. "Just a few clicks will reveal hidden information stored on a PC, including cached Web passwords and auto-login forms, passwords to email accounts and user identities for all Microsoft email clients. We are especially proud to have addressed the enhanced security model employed by Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and 8."

The software is available as an instant download to anyone with a credit card and there doesn't seem to be any kind of vetting procedure to prevent the tools from falling into the hands of undesirables as far as we can tell.

While you're at it you might as well pick up some burglary tools which are only ever used by locksmiths and people who lose their keys a lot.