The story of “JunkRat” our DIY password cracking rig.
Part 1: The Stage
As an emulated criminal it has always been a dream of mine to build a cracking rig that could blast through the billions of passwords in our culmination of many breaches (COMB) in 1% of the time it takes our laptops. The problem is good cracking rigs are expensive, usually costing up to $10,000 for one with maybe 4-5 graphics cards. This cost has been slowly reducing with the crypto crash occurring and more and more graphics cards are returning to the market, but new cards are expensive and many that are being sold as “new” online are false claims and were likely being used for mining before the sale.
So, in my limitless curiosity, I wanted to see if I could build a 6-card cracking rig and spend below $5000 to accomplish this. The way I planned to go about this was to buy “broken” cards from eBay at a discounted rate and attempt to repair them to a refurbished state.
Now I’m not a repair specialist and I’m also no electrical engineer, but like any hacker who has been to DEFCON I’m a pretend solder specialist. Also, during my time in the military I was required at times to work on electrical circuits to provide clean and stable power to our communications packs, so how hard could this be?
This begins our journey on how we are creating JunkRat. I plan to use these articles as a way of sharing knowledge from what I’ve learned in this self-development and how someone out there who may run into similar issues with the card can troubleshoot themselves. Also, it’s kind of a cool way to see if it's possible to use the hacker mindset to just make things cheap for ourselves overall. I always like to read series of a personal journey of learning so I figured it would be cool to do one myself.
So, the first step that was needed is I needed to figure out what card I wanted to use. I wanted it to be within the last generation if not the current gen, and being a fan of Nvidia, it was either going to be 30 or 20 series cards. I decided that the 2080 Super would be a good fit as it’s about as powerful as a 3060 and I mean that’s pretty good, and it would be slightly cheaper than the newer generation.
Now that we knew the card it was time to figure out how much we should expect to pay for a broken one. After some time, I finally found one come across eBay which was perfect as it was the 2080 Super Founders Edition card. Having the first card as a reference card would mean I could take notes on how Nvidia planned their circuits and use that to reference cards I get later. Now that I had the card it was time to figure out the issue and attempt a repair, but we will get into that in the next part