Intelligent bruteforce password attack for Excel, for free

Sometimes there is a need to open an Excel file that you don’t have the password for. Occasionally this will be when a colleague who has password protected an Excel document has now left the company…usually it is because the idiot who password protected the document forgot the password.

I work in the IT world, and this problem comes up on a pretty frequent basis…even more so because I am involved in the security and investigations realm. Usually when I need to get into the document I would use a brute force method. Unfortunately even with the best commercial solutions, brute force can take a ridiculous amount of time…and for the average person these solutions are not cheap. For excel files that were made in versions of Excel earlier than Excel 2007, this method will still work, but isn’t entirely necessary. Excel 2003 and earlier is a lot easier to crack than later versions. From 2007 onwards, there is a level of encryption involved. Also, this method is for the password used to open the Excel document, not the password protected sheets and formulas (these are simple to bypass anyway).

If you aren’t sure what brute force is, basically it is checking every possible combination of passwords possible. Starting from A to ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. This is a pretty quick process if the password is 3 or 4 characters long and doesn’t include special characters (!,*,% etc). Start looking at 7 character passwords and it is near impossible to get the password using this method unless you have quite a bit of cash to spend. Check this link to see how long a typical bruteforce attack would take. Continue reading Intelligent bruteforce password attack for Excel, for free

Google Chrome OS: New Kid on the Block

It was inevitable that Google would enter the Operating Systems market (although you could say they already have with Google Android). True to form, Google have introduced something that defies convention. They have introduced an Operating System that promises to be all about “speed, security and simplicity”.

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Linux vs. Windows: by a Microsoft Windows user

I am a long time Microsoft Windows (and DOS before that) user. I have never been too interested in Linux. I decided recently to have a go with Linux. I have installed Linux MCE before (, and was very impressed with this Media Center. It was an easy installation, and worked very well, even on the old hardware I was trying it out on.

The PC (Laptop) setup I am using is as follows:

  • Compal FL92 Chassis (15″ Screen)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 2.1 GHz CPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 160GB Hard drive
  • Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT
  • Atheros AR5007EG Wireless Network Adapter
  • Microsoft Windows Vista SP1

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Adobe Photoshop – Free alternatives

Adobe Photoshop is expensive. After you have already spent your hard earned cash on a decent DSLR, you are hardly going to be able to afford spending almost the same amount again on software. Photoshop is the best software out there for image manipulation. But luckily, there are free alternatives. Continue reading Adobe Photoshop – Free alternatives

GameTap : Free Games

Check out I was pretty dubious about this at first, because as with free offers, there is usually a catch. however this doesn’t seem to have one (aside from a few adverts). There is also a pay option which gives you “Gold” status (extending the catalogue of games)

Gametap is an emulator of sorts. It allows you to play a big back catalogue of games from all different platforms (including PC, ATARI, Arcade, Saturn, Commodore, DOS etc.). The selection of free games is pretty impressive. Some of the tiles for free are : Cannon Fodder, Sam & Max episodes, Tomb Raider Legends, Colin McRae 2005, Commandoes 3, Hitman, Hitman 2, Metal Slug…and a load of others.

If you pay to go Gold (not sure how much this is) it unlocks an even bigger catalogue of games.

Go to and download the installer (about 30mb). I am off to play Tomb Raider : Legends…