Last Updated on May 14, 2023 by Rashid Hassan

 Passwords are the most widely used authentication system. To start a session on a website, or on any computer, it is necessary to enter this password, together with the user, to gain access. For security, and to prevent anyone from getting hold of the passwords, they are stored encrypted with a hash. However, no matter how carefully we take care of passwords, there are always weak points that can be used to steal them. And the Cain & Abel tool is one of the best in this regard.

Cain & Abel was originally born as a password recovery software for Windows. Although, as with everything, it depends on the use we give it. This program is an expert in finding passwords on any system and, if they are encrypted, being able to decrypt them to obtain the real key that is hidden behind the hash. 

We must bear in mind that, as happens with certain programs that do not have a very good reputation, the truth is that they are totally legal. This is something that, for example, has been happening for years with the popular P2P clients. These are used to download torrent files of all kinds, but of course, depending on the use made by the user, these contents will be legal or not so much. However, the program as such that acts as a client is completely lawful and legal.

Something similar happens with a program that acts as a multimedia center and that has not stopped growing over the years, we are referring to Kodi. The controversy that has been generated over the years about this application is given by the add-ons or complements that it supports. Some of them are totally illegal because they give free access to paid content. But many of these are also legal and commonly used, so once again it is the user who breaks the law, not the program as such.

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Main features of Cain & Abel

This program is capable of scanning an entire computer to find all the passwords that are stored on it. But it is not the only thing that this software can do. This program can also be used to crack passwords using rainbow tables or brute force techniques. In addition, it is compatible with password dictionaries that will allow us to reverse engineer any password in case it is one of the most used or probable ones.

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In addition to finding passwords on any computer, this program also has network functions. With it we will be able to spy on any network and capture all the passwords that are sent through it, both encrypted and unencrypted. It can even be used to brute-force attacks on websites and servers via a large number of protocols, such as VoIP.

In this way, as we can see, the utility that we can give to the application itself is very varied. Sometimes it is used illegally to extract confidential information from third-party computers, but that depends on the user, not the application. As it could not be otherwise, from here we recommend you to use the program for your own purposes and within the law, otherwise we could get into serious trouble.

Finally, it is also important to point out that this program takes advantage of vulnerabilities and weaknesses to be able to reveal the password boxes, see all the ones that have been saved in a cache (for example, in the browser) and analyze all kinds of protocols.

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Other of the most relevant characteristics that we can highlight of this software are:

  • Allows you to find out the WEB passwords of Wi-Fi routers.
  • It uses packet injection techniques to speed up packet capture on a network.
  • Allows you to record VoIP conversations.
  • Crack all kinds of strong passwords.
  • It can compute hashes very fast to improve password cracking speed.
  • It uses ARP Spoofing techniques to capture network traffic.
  • Gets the MAC address of any IP.
  • Calculate a precise route from our PC to any destination.
  • It reads the contents of the Windows PWL password files without problems.

In addition, it is capable of hacking the passwords of the following protocols:

  • LM and NTLM
  • NTLMv2
  • Cisco IOS–MD5
  • Cisco PIX–MD5
  • APOP–MD5
  • CRAM-MD5 MD5
  • OSPF–MD5
  • RIPv2 MD5
  • VNC Triple DES
  • MD2
  • MD4
  • MD5
  • SHA-1
  • SHA-2
  • RIPEMD-160
  • Kerberos 5
  • RADIUS Shared Key Hashes
  • mysql
  • Oracle and SIP Database Hashes

Is Cain & Abel a virus?

Cain & Abel is a program that has been around for a long time among users. However, given its purpose, it is normal for security programs to detect it as suspicious or dangerous software. Avast, for example, recognizes this software as a potentially dangerous program called “Win32:Cain-B”, just as Windows Defender identifies it as “Win32/Cain!4_9:14” and classifies it as software with potentially dangerous behavior. 

But this is because, being a tool used by hackers, cybersecurity programs consider it dangerous. However, its developer has stated on more than one occasion that it does not contain malware or hide backdoors. Unfortunately, we cannot say that this software is 100% safe, since its source code has not been published or made available to auditing companies that let us know that it is really safe. Therefore, it is like any other proprietary software, a very useful program, which works, but with which we must be very careful.

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As you can imagine after all that we have commented on these lines, Cain & Abel is not a common program like Word or Excel. Here we are faced with a powerful software solution that presents us with many functions and its own behavior. Also, it’s not easy to use and configure, so it’s more aimed at expert users than those new to Windows, for example. Likewise, it is recommended to make a lawful use of the application in order to avoid problems with the law.

How to hack passwords with Cain & Abel

Although Cain and Abel has always been thought of as one show, it actually consists of two parts. The first of these is Cain, the application responsible for cracking passwords. And the second is Abel, the Windows NT service that protects the sending of passwords within local networks.

This software occupies only 10 MB and, unless we have problems with the antivirus, as we have just explained, initially its installation and start-up does not have any mystery. Also, it does not hide unwanted software or advertising. Hence, it is easy to deduce that the application hardly consumes resources on the computer where we install it and we will not notice that it is running there. This will be very appreciated on certain occasions when we have to leave the tool running for long periods of time in the background.

Once the program is installed on the computer we can start using it. To do this, we will start with Cain and what we will see will be a very simple interface, like the following, where we will have all our tools.

The truth is that one of the weakest points that we find in this program to find out Windows passwords is precisely its user interface. We only have to take a quick glance at it to realize that it is a rather outdated interface with a look from years ago. However, this is something that does not directly affect the operation of the software utility as such.

The program’s interface is divided into tabs, within each of which we will find the different modules for hacking passwords: Decoders, Network, Sniffer, Cracker, Traceroute, CCDU, Wireless and Query. 

Within each tab we can find everything necessary both to search for passwords and to decipher them. Some of the available techniques are very simple, and can be carried out by any user, but others are much more complicated and, if we are not advanced users, we will have problems.

This means that various factors come into play here when it comes to finding out the passwords we are looking for thanks to this application. Depending on our knowledge, the cybersecurity of that password or the time we have available, we can opt for one method or another of those that this software tool offers us.

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Depending on the type of password we are trying to break, it may take more or less time. Hence precisely the importance of the few resources it consumes from the computer so that we do not notice that it is running in the background.

Alternatives to Cain & Abel

It is true that Cain and Abel has been one of the best-known tools in this field for a long time. But, of course, it is not the only one that we can find on the Internet for this type of task that we are telling you about. We can find a wide variety of alternatives to hack passwords like the ones we are going to see below.

John the ripper

This is another of the favorite tools to recover (or hack) passwords. John the Ripper is free and open source software, available for all types of operating systems that will allow us to capture and decrypt all types of passwords and hashes on any operating system. A more complete software than Cain and Abel, with support and, furthermore, 100% reliable as the source code is available to everyone. 


This tool is specialized in reversing password hashes to obtain the key they hide. This software is compatible with more than 200 different protocols, being able to obtain, through all kinds of techniques, any type of password that we want to guess. Typically, hashcat is used to complement other similar password cracking programs.


Wireshark is not a password cracking program as such. Rather, it is a network sniffer (one of the functions that Cain and Abel have) that allows, among many other things, to locate all kinds of passwords and other information that may travel through the network. This software will only allow us to capture the hashes of the passwords that we send over our local network, but then we will have to resort to other specialized software, such as any of the two above, to reverse the password. 


Ettercap is a program similar to Wireshark, that is, a tool designed to work as an interceptor/sniffer/logger for LAN networks of all kinds. This tool is compatible with SSH1 and HTTPS, as well as being able to inject characters into packets in real time and perform “Man in the Middle” attacks against PPTP tunnels. A must-have tool for anyone interested in performing security audits.

By Rashid Hassan

Rashid Hassan is the founder of TechnoMusk, a Technology Blog, which offers digital products reviews, apps and software guide and tips and lots of information on technology. Also, he is the founder of Esportsmusk, which is a egaming blog. Dream Big, Achieve Bigger!

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