Security researcher Nick Breese has taken his PS3 and believes that the console’s powerful chip is very suitable to write password craking applications. Using, the PS3 Cell processor, Nick can crack a PDF, zip or Word password in a few hours (versus days for a “normal” PC). That’s because Cell contains eight computing units among which the decoding work can be split. A typical PC might not be as proficient, for that specific type of work, but it doesn’t mean that Cell is a better processor – simply that Cell has an architecture that is more friendly to this task.
Another parallel architecture like a graphics processor (GPU) has be proven to be dozens of times faster than a traditional processor for cracking passwords (read Russians crack passwords with a 8800 graphics card).
While this is an interesting exercise, the fact is that PDF, zip and Word documents passwords are not very strong, and that Cell processor is no match for stronger encryption systems used in safeguarding financial transactions.