Forums Bugs & issues Can't decrypt files with password

This topic contains 8 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Jed 9 months ago.

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  • #7926 Reply

    Martin

    Hello,

    Before going on holiday in end of august I downloaded AxCrypt free and encrypted important files. Since I was going away for five weeks I wrote down the password in a safe place. I tested the password on the files before leaving and it was working fine.

    Now when I’m back home the password do not work at all.

    How can I resolve this?

    If I remember correctly I used the same password for login and encrypting. Today I changed the login password. But I am wondering if AxCrypt can recover or see my first password before changing it today? Think this will resolve my problem.

    Any other solution in hand or other input?

    Best regards
    Martin, Sweden

    #7927 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Martin,

    We can’t recover the first password, or any other password.

    Once the files are encrypted, nothing really happens to them so they should open today if you’re providing the right password. We have only one sign in from you on that day before your vacation, so it seems you did not in fact enter the password more than the three times that are necessary for the sign up process.

    There are also several layers here – when you tried to sign in today, and failed, you issued a password reset. Then you can sign in to the app and the account. When you try to open a encrypted file, that was encrypted with the old password, you’ll get a prompt for a “file password”. Now you get a new chance to enter the right password. If that doesn’t work either, the chances really are that you either wrote the wrong thing, or you’re misreading it now, or you mistyped originally.

    It seems very unlikely that the two quite independent processes of signing up and setting a password for the account, and then encrypting files using the password just set, would err in the same way at the same time for one single user. We have very, very many users who do this every day.

    Occams razor applies here, I’m pretty sure you’re not entering the same password as you did originally. Sorry, I know you don’t like to hear this, but…

    I suggest you try to consider just what could have gone wrong with the password typing / noting down / reading back process – and try to adjust for that.

    #7932 Reply

    Martin

    Hello again,

    Thanks for your reply Svante!

    I want to add that  e v e r y t i m e  I create a new account and/or password online I always open up a txt-file, type the new login info and new password, then ctrl+C and ctrl+V the info into requierd fields. Then I always save that perticular txt-file. That way I never misstype or forgett the new info just created. I used the same process when setting up AxCrypt.

    It’s true that I only logged in one time in August. I set up the account and encrypted the file. I closed the file and opend it up again just to make sure that it actually worked. Which it did. The I signed out of the account, and tried to access it again for the first time in five weeks today.

    I use AxCrypt on a daily basis at work so I am familiar with the program alredy.

    The file now “lost” will take me a year to recover. If possible.

    If there is any other chance what so ever on recovering this vital document I am happy to try, do or pay (almost) anything.

    Best regards
    Martin

    #7934 Reply

    Jed

    Then I always save that perticular txt-file. That way I never misstype or forgett the new info just created. I used the same process when setting up AxCrypt.

    Copying and pasting isn’t the best way to do things because sometimes the clipboard isn’t populated with the new data and it pastes in something else.

    Is there any possibility that you copied in a leading/trailing space?

     

    If there is any other chance what so ever on recovering this vital document I am happy to try, do or pay (almost) anything.

    No. AxCrypt is engineered specifically so there is no backdoor.

    If you’ve forgotten or mis-typed or pasted something different as your password then there’s no way in. It would take you hundreds of billions of years to crack it by brute force.

    If you might have forgotten/mis-copied a single letter/number/symbol then you might (and the possibility is remote) be able to recover it using a tool especially built for this. Don’t get too excited – if your clipboard contained other data then this tool will not work for you. It would take longer than the life of the universe to crack an AxCrypt password.

    In the future never use a text file to store your passwords. Use an independent password manager like KeePass which will securely save, input and generate passwords for you.

    #7937 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Thank you Jed!

    I’ve sent Martin the brute force software link via support.

    Some softwares disallow “paste” operations for passwords. We should perhaps do this for one of the fields when setting up the password the first time.

    #7938 Reply

    Jed

    I think entirely disallowing paste would be a bad idea as it would prevent the less technically savvy from using their password managers.

    KeePass has a feature called AutoType which simulates key presses and could circumvent the proposed restriction.

    The majority of password managers only use a standard copy and paste operation so it’d deprive prudent users of the ability to use a more secure password.

    My only suggestion would be to always show the password (with a warning explaining why) on first setup. Perhaps have a textual representation of the password albeit it’d be impractical for long passwords, e.g.

    H? 4kY@aa

    HOTEL, question mark, space, four, kilo, YANKEE, at symbol, alpha, alpha

    #7939 Reply

    Svante
    Keymaster

    Hello Jed,

    Maybe I was not clear enough. Paste would only be disallowed in the password verification field when setting a new password. Not in the first field even then, and not at all when signing in or using a password to decrypt a file.

    We also do show the password by default when setting it, but it can be deselected if there’s a shoulder surfer around.

    #7945 Reply

    Jed

    Paste would only be disallowed in the password verification field when setting a new password.

    I can see the potential benefit of this but it would affect people with secure, long passwords who normally copy and paste them from a password manager. KeePass allows key press emulation, most password managers (LastPass, 1Password, Enpass, Password Safe, bitwarden) don’t.

    I wouldn’t be very frustrated having to manually type in:

    ${dDQv,E:{QM|!~hk$;ys#p)’sZ&9f.1~qv79Q#O0RNK0{S>=,5m7|%D5^7R

    • It’d take a long time
    • I’d probably make a mistake
    • Forcing me to type it in makes me no more secure*

    *I’m never going to remember it and it’ll always be stored in my password manager.

    For people with short passwords then forcing them to type it in may increase accuracy first time but I think if you’re going to go down that path then you should allow a user to override the paste prohibition with a suitable warning. If you don’t then people who are sensible (and use a password manager) may decrease their security by choosing something easier to type and therefore less secure.

    I think that if a user doesn’t appreciate the dangers of copy/paste then they shouldn’t be using encryption because they’ll lock themselves out of their files. They’re also the type of person who is likely not to use a password manager, will go onto forget their password and thereafter lock themselves out of their files.

    It’s a no-win situation for AxCrypt.

    The existing strict warnings are seemingly ignored by a minority of people and ultimately they only have themselves to blame when they lose access to their files. That’s not AxCrypt’s fault, it’s user ignorance and no amount of cotton wool can protect them from themselves.

    #7946 Reply

    Jed

    Erratum

    That should read –

    “I would be very frustrated having to manually type in:”

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