Currently, I started to learn about secure passwords in password file. The password file contains the hashed values for passwords. I know that the forward search attack for a password that if an intruder could have an access to password file in a system. Then he/she could hash the most common password and compare them to the ones in the password file looking for matching. While the dictionary attack the intruder compute the hash for the password and looks for them in a dictionary of common passwords.

For me, both of the definitions looks like the same. So is forward search attack is the same as dictionary attack?

  • $\begingroup$ "the most knowing"? What do you mean? $\endgroup$
    – kodlu
    Oct 27, 2018 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ @kodlu Most common $\endgroup$ Oct 27, 2018 at 6:42

1 Answer 1


In the context of passwords, a dictionary attack is a forward search attack improved by using a dictionary of likely passwords (best ordered from most to least frequent), rather than enumerating all possible passwords in a mechanical manner (like in lexicographic order).

In other words, the dictionary attack necessarily uses a dictionary, when a forward search attack can do without.


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