Computer scientists have found that the widespread use of high-end Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) pose a serious threat to security as they render basic password protection useless.
The study, which was conducted by security researchers at Georgia Tech, used an easily available set of GPUs in order to test the strength of basic passwords.
The scientists found that a seven character long password was no match against the high-end GPUs.
The researchers warned that as companies continued to make powerful GPUs, the threat to passwords would continue to grow.
Previously GPUs were used to offer enhanced graphics in personal computers, but now they are being used to power supercomputers, as well as personal computers.
High-end GPUs are capable of processing information at the speed of 2 teraflops or 2 trillion calculations per-second, which made 7 character long password almost useless.
The scientists warned that GPUs were being used to develop sophisticated brute force attacks to crack typical short-word lower-case passwords. Scientists advised people to use more longer passwords.
Joshua Davis, a Georgia Tech scientist, said in a statement to PC Pro: “Length is a major factor in protecting against brute forcing a password. A computer keyboard contains 95 characters, and every time you add another character, your protection goes up exponentially, by 95 times.”