I'll be looking to perform a domain password audit in which the user will be using english characters but may be 40% Mandarin speakers so I anticipate a large number of names, phrases, or words that are written to be mandarin (but written using english character set).

I'd like to perform a hybrid attack and thus I'm hoping to expand my dictionary list to include non-english phrases/words/names but typed in the english character set.

Does anyone know of a resource that fits this description or has access to such a dictionary/word list? I've done some googling but couldn't find much.

Appreciate any input.


I don't speak Chinese but I believe the operational word to use for your Google-searches is "pinyin". This is the official method of encoding Chinese text into Latin characters (that's not the only one, though). So you want "Mandarin word lists in pinyin".

With such terms, I find this downloadable dictionary which looks promising. In the .u8 file, one will find lines like this one:

 北極熊 北极熊 [bei3 ji2 xiong2] /polar bear/

with the pinyin transcription between square brackets [ and ]. You should be able to build a wordlist out of this file.

  • 1
    It might be important to note that the tones are often omitted. (so it would turn into "bei ji xiong" or "beijixiong") – abaj Jul 29 '14 at 7:21
  • Thank you both. Downloaded the CEDICT file, massaged the data. Converted to lowercase, removed spaces, removed numbers, removed duplicates, and I'm left with a word list of about 77,000. I found a couple other posts online about pinyin password cracking but none of the users had a list this big so I'm going to stick with this method for my engagement and see how things go. – nopnosrac Jul 29 '14 at 15:25

You need to look into the Chinese IME (Input Method Editor) that is provided with Windows, and also popular 3rd party ones. They all operate mostly the same though. Basically you enter a word by typing Latin characters that sound it out, then the computer presents a list of possibilities and you select one from a menu. When writing passwords most Chinese people just enter the sounds, e.g. "xeixei".


I'd say word-based dictionary attack is more an alphabetic language practice and not that effective on a character-based langauge like Chinese.

Most Chinese characters can be seen as "words" on their own and Chinese people often think in units of characters instead of words. For example, they use 字典 (literally "character book", dictionary of characters) instead of 词典 ("word book", dictionary of words). So it's natural for a Chinese person to come up with character sequences that make sense but does not show up in any word list (it's like the Chinese version of passw0rd).

For example, the example in Tom's answer, 北极熊, is composed of 北(north), 极(extrme, understood as pole when following 北) and 熊 (bear). Someone could easily come up with 南极熊 (south pole bear) as their password and this might not appear in any word list as it's not a real thing. Simiarly, most people's names does not make any sense as words and they're very likely to use them in passwords.

A more thorough approach would be to come up with all possible character pronunciations in Pinyin and use those in your dictionary. This will be like creating an alphabet for Chinese. This could explain why the "word list" in some sources are much smaller.

You can of course add multi-character word to speed up the process.

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