Hacking Tutorial

How to Crack Encrypted 7z Archives

This post is a continuation from my last regarding cracking encrypted .zip archives. But what happens if you come across an encrypted 7zip archive? The 7-Zip encryption is actually quite good and can require a lot of time to bruteforce, but this guide will show you how weak passwords can still break good encryption.

I’ll use LightWeight from HackTheBox as an example for this guide. Please note that this post does not intend to serve as a walkthrough for the box.


To begin, we already have the archive we wish to crack on our filesystem. Our goal is to crack the file named backup.7z.

We try to open the archive using 7z, but we’re prompted for a password that we do not know. When prompted, I entered password in the example below, but that did not work.

7z x backup.7z

We can start by using zip2john, but we find that the tool is unable to obtain the hash.

To proceed, we’ll need a tool called 7z2john. If you get an error when trying to run this tool, you may need to install the following package.

sudo apt install libcompress-raw-lzma-perl -y

With that package installed, let’s locate 7z2john and copy the full path.

Now let’s run this tool against backup.7z.

/usr/share/john/7z2john.pl backup.7z

Nice! We’ve extracted the hash. I’m just going to rerun the command again and output the results into a file named lightweight7z.hash

/usr/share/john/7z2john.pl backup.7z > lightweight7z.hash

Now let’s vi the file so we can remove the first bit. With the cursor at the top, I’m going to enter 10x while still in command mode so that I delete the first 10 characters. We should be left with only the hash now. To write my changes and quit, I’ll enter :wq

With the hash in hand, we’re ready to pass the hard work over to hashcat. First, we need to identify what numeric value hashcat assigns to 7-zip archives. Let’s run hashcat --example-hashes and search the results for 7-Zip. We find that we’ll need mode 11600

As long as you have a wordlist ready, let’s throw this at hashcat!

hashcat -m 11600 lightweight7z.hash /usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt

After some time, we see that our password is cracked. The credential appears to be delete.

Let’s test this by running 7z x backup.7z again, but entering delete when prompted for the credential.

Now we see the archived .php files available to us in our present working directory!


That’s it! Super quick and easy to crack this if you have a weak password. While the 7-zip encryption is actually quite good and can make a password very difficult to crack, weak passwords will end up harming you in the end.

Hacking Tutorial

How To Crack Encrypted ZIP Archives

Thanks for checking out another quick hacking tutorial! This one is super simple, but helpful to know in case you come across a password protected ZIP archive that you need access to.


To start, I created a couple text files on my Windows machine and stored them into an encrypted ZIP archive using 7-zip.

Let’s transfer over the CrackMe.zip file to our Kali machine.

Once the CrackMe.zip file is present on the filesystem, go ahead and Right-Click and select Extract Here.

You’ll get a prompt stating that there is a Password Required.

In order for us to crack this password, we need to first extract its hash. Luckily, John The Ripper has everything we need built-in. Let’s spin up a Terminal window and get started. Start by making sure you’re in the correct directory that contains the ZIP file.

Run the following command to decrypt any hashes that are contained within the archive. This will create a new text document titled hash-to-crack.txt

sudo zip2john CrackMe.zip > hash-to-crack.txt

We can verify the contents of the file by utilizing cat.

cat hash-to-crack.txt

Great! Now that we have a hash contained in the text document, let’s try our hand at cracking it. First, we’ll need a wordlist. I always like to utilize the rockyou.txt wordlist built into Kali first. This list can be found at /usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt. If you haven’t first unzipped this list, you’ll want to do that before proceeding. Check out this guide for help with that.

With wordlist in hand, let’s run the following command to start our brute-force.

sudo john hash-to-crack.txt --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt

If you receive an error, you may need to specify the format the hash is in.

sudo john --format=zip hash-to-crack.txt --wordlist=/usr/share/wordlists/rockyou.txt

Based on the result above, we see that our password is password123! Let’s attempt to extract the archive again, and enter that password to make sure it works.

Doing so creates a new folder titled CrackMe. Let’s go ahead and expand the contents of this and see what we can find!


That’s it! Super quick and easy to crack this if you have a weak password. As you’ve heard 1000 times, strong passwords are essential for keeping your data secure, and this is just one example that proves that.