What is Brute Force Algorithm

The Brute Force algorithm is a common problem-solving technique in which the potential solution to a problem is discovered by verifying each answer one after the other and assessing whether or not the result meets the issue statement. It is utilized when the size of the problem is constrained while maintaining the number of possible tries to breach the same as the number of probable answers. Therefore, in simple terms, it can be referred to as a trial and error method which isn’t very efficient but is feasible due to the speed at which the computers work in our day.

In Computer science jargons, the brute force algorithm is a trial-and-error process used by data theirs and attackers with other malicious intent to attempt to steal data by producing every conceivable combination of password-protected data. Brute Force completely depends on a machine’s computational power to try every feasible combination to reach the goal.

For example, suppose you have to identify all the integers divisible by an arbitrary number, let’s say 15, that are between 1 and 100,000. The Brute Force algorithm would generate all the integers in the range if you took a the standard brute force approach. That is, it would start with the number 15 and keep adding the same number until it reaches the provided limit. You can always lower the search criteria and make it more efficient. In some circumstances, you can save possible trials by performing an analysis.

Use of brute force algorithm

When no alternative technique is available to speed up the search and the only way to solve the problem is to verify every conceivable answer, the Brute Force algorithm is utilized. Consider the following case: you need to use the Brute Force approach to look up the word “cricketer” in the dictionary. Here, to arrive at your desired term, you must run through all of the words. Because it takes the steps that are equivalent to the words in the dictionary, the time complexity is equal to O (n). To get to your word efficiently, you can use the Binary Search approach, which makes two equal parts of the dictionary. Then it tried to figure out which half of the dictionary contains the word. If the former contains it, the latter is discarded and vice versa. This would be repeated until the word is found. In which case the time complexity would be O (log(n)).

How to create a brute force algorithm

Although, the brute force jargon in terms of computing, has become notorious as the go to tool, for malicious workers online, the Brute Force can be used to solve a wide range of issues. It’s used for things like trial and error, finding a number, sorting unsorted input lists, finding integers between specific ranges given under any condition, and so on. It comes in handy while dealing with tiny concerns.

There is no specific algorithm with the coined term “The” brute force algorithm. Rather, it is a concept that we have come through under the aforementioned headings. Therefore, let’s take a look at an example to illustrate this in a fine manner.

Let’s assume that you are trying to find the number of combinations that can be obtained from 5 letters of the English alphabet. The computer creates a pattern of all possible combinations of the letters in the English alphabet such that a letter is added whenever the number of combinations becomes 0. The sequence would look something like the list mentioned below.

  • A
  • AB
  • BA
  • ABC
  • ACB
  • BAC
  • BCA
  • CAB
  • CBA
  • ABCD

And so on. This list illustrates how every single probable answer or key to the solution is taken into consideration even though it could have been eliminated by smarter algorithms that can understand that the required number of alphabet combinations to be tested are the first 5 as stated in the problem.

The code for the algorithm varies across different programming languages. However, the principle always remains the same. Since the brute force algorithm is simply unquestionably reliable rather than efficient, it is only used when there is no other option available. Therefore it is often used by those trying to break into a website or data reserves with malicious intent.

Brute force attacks

This is another computer science jargon that translates into a hacker trying to get into your personal space online without your knowledge. They simply run the trial and error methodology of brute force algorithms to run all sorts of passwords against your username until they find the right combination. There are multiple types of brute force attacks.

  • Simple brute force attacks:

This is a manual brute forcing technique through which the hacker will try to guess the most probable password to your account. This works with very simple passwords such as “name1234” for an example.

  • Dictionary attacks:

A hacker selects a target and tests probable passwords against that username in a conventional attack. This process is termed as q dictionary attack in cyber security terminology. In brute force attacks, dictionary attacks are the most fundamental weapon. While these are not necessarily brute force operations in and of themselves, they are frequently employed as a key component in cracking passwords. Some hackers go through unabridged dictionaries and add extra characters and numerals to words, or they employ special word dictionaries, although this form of sequential assault is time-consuming.

  • Hybrid brute force attacks:

These attacks are a combination of both, the logical simple attacks and the dictionary attacks. Basically, the attackers combine their logical number and word selection to the randomized brute force word selection from a dictionary to come up with probable passwords.

  • Reverse brute force attacks:

These are the exact opposite of brute force attacks. The hacker is in possession of the password rather than the username. Therefore in order to find the username, the attacker runs the password against an indefinite amount of usernames available using a brute force algorithm.

  • Credential stuffing or credential retry:

In this simple technique, the attacker who has found a successful combination of a username and a password uses a brute force algorithm to stuff the same credentials into all the other websites that the owner of the account may be utilizing. This technique works out a lot more than it should since people are known to use the same user name and password on multiple websites.

The role of GPU models and processing power for brute force algorithms.

Since brute forcing is a concept based on trial and error method and runs on trying every single probable solution, it is a non efficient and extremely time consuming process. It does seem feasible since computers allow extremely fast computation and therefore cutting down the ETA of the solution by a huge amount.

The faster the GPU and core processor of the computer, the faster it will be able to run through the probable solutions and find the right one. It all depends on the computational speed of the computer at the end of the day.

In a nutshell

In a nutshell you can state brute force algorithms are algorithms based on the principle of trial and error, employing a sequence to run every single probable key to a lock. Similar to what you would do if you ever forgot the combination of a padlock. The only catch being the reduction of the time factor of the principle due to the involvement of extremely fast computational speeds of computers.

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