Definition of dictionary attack in English:

dictionary attack


  • An attempt to gain illicit access to a computer system by using a very large set of words to generate potential passwords.

    • ‘Of the other three components, passwords were crackable with user name and dictionary attacks at a rate between eight per cent and 37 per cent, with some accounts protected by no password at all.’
    • ‘The methods are secure against off-line dictionary attack and incorporate an otherwise unauthenticated public key distribution system.’
    • ‘Both WEP and WPA-PSK use a key that is susceptible to offline brute-force dictionary attacks.’
    • ‘Stegdetect and Stegbreak, developed by Niels Provos (free source code available at, for example, allow you to detect the technology in images and launch a dictionary attack, respectively.’
    • ‘In April the British ISP Blueyonder, which supplies broadband cable access to tens of thousands of subscribers, suffered a dictionary attack of such ferocity that it was unable to deliver e-mail to its paying customers for two days.’
    • ‘Both tools are written for Linux systems and perform a brute-force dictionary attack against WPA-PSK networks in an attempt to determine the shared passphrase.’
    • ‘It is more likely that the key was stored in some temporary file on the disk somewhere, or fell to a dictionary attack.’
    • ‘If it appears in any electronic list, including census information, dictionaries, thesaurus or phone books your password will not withstand a basic dictionary attack.’
    • ‘This site lists all sorts of password crackers that run dictionary attacks against a variety of encryption products.’
    • ‘KF Web Server also comes with built-in countermeasures to prevent Denial of Service and password dictionary attacks.’
    • ‘My lovely little Python script showed that about 75-80% of them were dictionary attacks so I fixed things so that all mail was refused (not even bounced) to all but six addresses in that domain.’
    • ‘Now, your idea of a dictionary attack is interesting, except that as I pointed out above, most people (in my experience, at least) don't go looking for an 8 character word.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, many of the password crackers use the replacement of letters with numbers in the dictionary attacks.’
    • ‘Brute force dictionary attacks attempt to compromise this authentication procedure by methodically testing every possible password.’
    • ‘Essentially this is a form of dictionary attack, which Microsoft argues violates federal laws including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.’
    • ‘On the Internet, password security is actually much better than that, because dictionary attacks work best offline.’
    • ‘Note that fixed passwords remain vulnerable to guessing, dictionary attacks and social engineering, as already indicated by Morris and Thompson.’
    • ‘But after subjecting the images to dictionary attacks, not a single hidden message was discovered.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, an eavesdropper can capture the hash transmitted by a WPA supplicant and run an off-line dictionary attack against the hash to deduce the password used to create it.’
    • ‘In the past, dictionary attacks on Hotmail, attempts to harvest thousands of emails at once, were originating from servers operated by American spammers in Beijing.’