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  1. #1
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Tried Decryptum or PasswordNow ? (97-2003)

    Last Summer I applied a password (to open) an Excel workbook and now I have no idea what it is. My IT folks told me they ran a well-known password cracking program for two days and could not open the file. (This doesn't surprise me; I try not to choose weak passwords.)

    I discovered that there are two online services that will remove the "Office 97-2000" encryption for $29 per file within a few minutes. These services do not try to ascertain my password, but instead attack the 40-bit key that Word or Excel uses to encrypt the file. This is much easier, given enough computing power, but means that you need to pay to open each file rather than simply knowing the password you (probably) used for an entire project.

    Has anyone ever tried either of these services and/or have any comments on them? Both use the same cracking technique, but there are differences in how your data is handled.
    <UL><LI>http://www.decryptum.com/ (from Passware, the makers of Excel Key, Office Key, etc.) -- entirely online, you upload your entire workbook (using SSL, but do you trust their internal security?), view the confirmation of decryption (the first several rows and columns), then pay to get the entire document.

    <LI>http://www.passwordnow.com/ (from LastBit Corp., makers of Excel Password, Office Password, etc.) -- buy a credit, then download a small client program that uploads a small part of your workbook (less disclosure risk), and the service then sends you a code to enter into the client program to open your file locally or you can apply for a refund if it was not crackable.[/list]Note: Due to the different way they work, the Decryptum demo is much better than PasswordNow's; PasswordNow can't really do a demo on your own file without giving you the service for free.

    And naturally, the existence of these services demonstrates the need to use the stronger crypto options available in Office XP and 2003 if you really want your Excel password to secure your data.

  2. #2
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    Re: Tried Decryptum or PasswordNow ? (97-2003)

    Good call Jeff

    It is about this time of year that the Lounge gets questions like this because a colleague has gone on vacation/holiday and not told them the password <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16>
    Jerry

  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    Re: Tried Decryptum or PasswordNow ? (97-2003)

    Edited by HansV to provide links to posts (see <!help=19>Help 19<!/help>) and to break very long line between <!t>[pre] and <!t>[/pre] tags

    I'll have to try these out too but with code from the Lounge, I've never not found a workbook I couldn't open (even with a known good password like one randomally generated by a password program). Since the code here worked for me in all versions of Excel (97-2003) I hadn't bother to pay for a service.

    Actually I'm surprised your IT group couldn't crack the password as it is quite easy. The passwords (especially before xl2002) are very easy to break and there are quite a few posts with sample code. It also doesn't matter if you have a supposedly secure password s(very long, no dictionary words, special characters, etc.). This is one reason I keep xl97 around as I can use it to break new versions of Excel. (This does not apply to the VBA password but that too can be broken.). I keep 4 sets of code that work in different revs of Excel and so far I've always been successful. The thing to know is that the passwords are not unique (multiple unique passwords are actually encoded to be identical internally) and hence the weakness of the protection. One multiple nested password cracking routine I have (from a lounge post) displays a functional password which works to break the worksheet and it's always something like AAABBCCDDABBEEE which of course, is no where near the password I entered.

    Look at these posts, <post#=228399>post 228399</post#> and <post#=230184>post 230184</post#>
    <pre>Sub KillPwd() ' deletes password from sheet in xl97/2000
    ActiveSheet.Protect Password:=""
    End Sub

    Public Sub ClearPassword() ' deletes password from sheet in xl97/2000
    ActiveSheet.Protect "", , , , True
    ActiveSheet.Range("a1").Copy ActiveSheet.Range("a1")
    End Sub

    Public Sub CrackOtherWorkbook(bkName As String)
    Application.Workbooks(bkName & ".xls").Worksheets(1).Protect "", , , , True
    Application.Workbooks(bkName & ".xls").Worksheets(1).Range("a1").Copy _
    Application.Workbooks(bkName & ".xls").Worksheets(1).Range("a1")
    End Sub</pre>

    I'm curious if any of these will work for you. Even if you've already cracked it, it's worth trying so you can get yourself out of a jam next time.

    Deb

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Tried Decryptum or PasswordNow ? (97-2003)

    Deb, in my case the password is to open the file, so I can't run any VBA on the file because I can't open it. <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>

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    5 Star Lounger jujuraf's Avatar
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    Re: Tried Decryptum or PasswordNow ? (97-2003)

    AHHHH ok I get it now. I didn't see any reference to password to open the file, I figured it was sheet/workbook protection. Very different eh? <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    In this case, it's new territory for me so my advice is worthless and I'm clueless <img src=/S/bagged.gif border=0 alt=bagged width=22 height=22>

    Deb

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Tried Decryptum or PasswordNow ? (97-2003)

    Update: Used Decryptum and got my file back. From submission through payment to download, it took about 10 minutes. Payment was handled by element5, in Germany, on behalf of the company behind the site, which is in Estonia. At least, that's what it looked like. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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