A very common error for novices to run into when using Hashcat (or oclHashcat) is the line length exception error. Usually the scenario goes something like this:

"Oh, hey! I put my hash ($1$28772684$iEwNOgGugqO9.bIz5sk8k/) into a file called my_hash.txt and tried to crack it with hashcat but it won't work. help!"

And the command they will have run may be similar to the following.

hashcat -m 0 my_hash.txt passwords.txt

This issue nearly always comes down to one of two problems:

  1. Either there is an error in the hash (for example a typo or formatting issue)
  2. or more commonly you are specifying the wrong hash type in your attack (also known as the mode)

In the example above, the operator actually has an md5crypt hash (mode 500) but has specified raw md5 (mode 0) in the attack. The proper fix here would be to correct the hash mode like so:

hashcat -m 500 my_hash.txt passwords.txt

In case you aren't familiar with all of the hash types and mode designations, the hashcat website has a handy reference page with example hashes that you can use to lookup the modes.