I am trying to crack a less than 4 character Linux password using john. I unshadowed my password into file.txt I use the following command:

john -incremental file.txt

the output is:

0g 0:00:00:04  0g/s 1226p/s 1226c/s 1226C/s sonkys..michot
0g 0:00:00:05  0g/s 1259p/s 1259c/s 1259C/s 083078..115269
0g 0:00:00:06  0g/s 1275p/s 1275c/s 1275C/s samil..shite
0g 0:00:00:07  0g/s 1285p/s 1285c/s 1285C/s juaps..jight
0g 0:00:00:08  0g/s 1291p/s 1291c/s 1291C/s marali..morie1

looks like it is using a password list instead I want to start from 1 word password and then 2 words and so on.

1 Answer 1


John will default to its internal wordlist. Sounds like you need to use mask mode:

./john --mask=?1?1?1?1 -1=[A-Z] file.txt -min-len=4

This example will attempt all permutations of 4 character, upper case A-Z letters.

Other options:

   ?l lower-case ASCII letters
   ?u upper-case ASCII letters
   ?d digits
   ?a full printable ascii

There are a lot of ways to configure mask mode including combining masking with a wordlist if thats what you want, read the documentation here: https://fossies.org/linux/john/doc/MASK

Also are you sure your password is not salted?

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