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Re: A Method for Retrieving Forgotten WordPerfect Mac Passwords

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  • pjandlar
    Wow, too cool! I just love solutions to things that can t be done ! Pam
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 22, 2007
      Wow, too cool! I just love solutions to things that "can't be done"!


      --- In wordperfectmac@yahoogroups.com, "dsvoltaire" <curator@...> wrote:
      > Hello All:
      > A couple of months ago, I found myself needing to access
      > some password-protected old WP files for which I could not
      > remember the passwords. I scoured the internet and even
      > called a couple of companies and was told across the board
      > that no one had ever figured out how to crack the passwords
      > for WP for the Mac (the Windows version is apparently
      > easier to crack as there are several programs out there
      > which claim to be able to do this).
      > Being a very stubborn person, the more I was told to simply
      > give up on my files, the more I was determined to figure
      > things out. It took me several weeks, but I was able to
      > finally work out a method for retrieving my passwords and
      > regaining access to all my old files. I had about 15 files,
      > all with different passwords, and I was able to recover
      > passwords and open all of them.
      > Since I noted there were some other members of this group
      > who had the same problem with "lost" files, I thought I'd
      > share what I've learned in the hope that some of you out
      > there might also get a chance to access files you'd thought
      > you'd lost forever.
      > My method is not a crack, but a brute force procedure that
      > takes time and patience. It's not very elegant, but it
      > works.
      > Basically, it's a game of trial and error as you eke out
      > each letter of your forgotten password.
      > First, you need to be able to view your files in a hex
      > editor such as the free OxED (which is available via
      > Apple's website or a number of other places; just do a
      > google search, you'll find it). If you've never viewed a
      > WordPerfect file in a hex editor, what you'll see are three
      > sections. The first column is the hex line number of the
      > file, the next 32 columns are the hex representations of
      > the file's contents, and the final column is the actual
      > file information (if your file were not encrypted, you'd be
      > able to read the text in this column; since the file is
      > encrypted, it just looks like your cat was dancing on your
      > keyboard and made a file). Some of my encrypted files were
      > originally created in WP 3.1 for the Mac and some with 3.5
      > and 3.5e. There are slight variations in the contents of
      > these files, but the password is always in roughly the same
      > place in files created with these three versions of WP for
      > the Mac.
      > Approximately 320 bytes into the file (that's about 10 or
      > 12 lines down in OxED), in the last column, you'll see a
      > long series of characters which are, of course, gibberish,
      > since the file is encrypted. However, those encrypted
      > characters are, in fact, your password; at least the first
      > 19 are, the rest are something I've never figured out, but
      > it doesn't matter for purposes of finding your lost
      > password anyway.
      > All you have to do to figure out your password is start
      > saving new files with a known password (they don't need to
      > have any text in them) and then opening those newly-
      > encrypted files in OxED and comparing them to the file for
      > which you can't remember the password. Depending on how
      > complex your password was to start with, it may take you a
      > while to slowly figure it out one character at a time.
      > However, I found that after I'd learned the first few
      > characters of a password (or passphrase in my case) I would
      > remember the rest of it. I started with a file with a
      > password of lower case "a" and worked my way through the
      > alphabet until I got it to match, then I moved on to the
      > next letter and created a file with a password that started
      > with the letter I'd recovered and then began with "a" again
      > and worked my way down. In my case, I knew I had used
      > passphrases and I had some recollection of the phrases,
      > just not the whole thing, so I was able to take some
      > shortcuts and not have to try every letter, et cetera. In
      > one case, though, I didn't have a clue about the password,
      > and was still able to figure it out in about 20
      > minutes.
      > Because of the method Wordperfect uses to encrypt files,
      > the same letter will not be the same encrypted character
      > within the password if it appears in different places
      > within the password. In other words, a password of ababab
      > will not be encrypted as XOXOXO, but will look more like
      > XO_(#: or some such. This is because part of WordPerfect's
      > encryption method uses a counter which increments by 1 with
      > each character (it starts at 01 and goes up to 255, then
      > starts over). I could never simply decrypt my files
      > because, despite a ridiculous number of hours and test
      > files, I could never work out where the counter started.
      > WordPerfect's passwords are case sensitive, so if you used
      > upper and lower case letters in your forgotten password,
      > those are different, too. And, of course, there are all
      > kinds of special characters available on the keyboard that
      > might be in your password. However, like I said, most of
      > you are probably like me and once you reveal the first few
      > letters/characters/whatever, you'll probably remember that
      > old password on your own.
      > BTW, you can use some other hex editor or even the xxd
      > command in Terminal, but I found that for long files
      > Terminal is useless because it apparently can't handle
      > larger files and truncates the beginning of these files --
      > the precise part you need to visualize in order to work out
      > your password.
      > I hope others will find this information useful. And
      > remember -- never give up, never surrender!
      > dms
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