hands-on lab

OWASP Exercises: Dictionary Attack using Hydra

Up to 40m
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Attackers constantly try to crack the passwords of other people in order to gain access to their accounts. The dictionary attack is one of the most common ways of attempting to crack a user's password. The attack works by attempting to use all of the words in a given dictionary file as the password for the user. If the user's password is in the dictionary used in the attack, the attacker is able to gain access. Hydra is a well-known tool for performing dictionary attacks.

In this lab, you will use Hydra to perform a dictionary attack on a locally hosted website.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lab you will be able to:

  • Set up Hydra to perform a dictionary attack on a website

Intended Audience

This lab is intended for:

  • Individuals who want to learn how to defend against dictionary attacks on websites
  • Security engineers who want to understand the security level of the passwords they are using inside their company
  • Individuals who want to understand how a dictionary attack is performed


This lab has no prerequisites.


September 21st, 2021 - Updated HyperV VMs to not used save state to avoid an issue with Azure VMs in the same SKU not all having the same processor features

September 7th, 2021 - Upgraded underlying disk, and Kali Hyper-V VM configuration for improved performance

July 9th, 2020 - Enabled direct browser RDP connection for a streamlined experience

Environment before

Environment after

About the author

Richard Beck, opens in a new tab
Director of Cyber Security at QA
Learning paths

Richard Beck is Director of Cyber Security at QA. He works with customers to build effective and successful security training solutions tailored for business needs. Richard has over 15 years' experience in senior Information Security roles. Prior to QA, Richard was Head of Information Security for an organization that underpins 20% of the UK's Critical National Infrastructure. Richard also held Security and Technical Management posts in the Defence, Financial Services, and HMG. Richard sits on a number of security advisory panels and previously chaired the Communication Industry Personnel Security Information Exchange (CPNI). Richard is also a STEM Ambassador working to engage and enthuse young people in the area of cybersecurity. Providing a unique perspective on the world of cybersecurity to teachers and encourage young people to consider a career in cybersecurity.

Covered topics

Lab steps

Load the Virtual Machines (Kali & Hydra)
Conduct the Dictionary Attack