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I had a password-protected Access 2007 database that I used to use extensively but hadn't used in a few years and had forgotten the password. I looked around for a recovery tool, but the only ones I found for a 2007 database format (ACCDB) wanted money, and the data I needed out of the DB wasn't worth that to me. Instead I tried writing a VBA routine to brute-force discover the password, and to my great surprise, it worked. (It took about 75 mins to find my 4-character password, searching through all combinations of any type-able characters, though I did "stack" my character list towards the ones I thought were in the password.)

Now, said program is not terribly elegant or fast, as I am not a cryptographer or a hacker/cracker, but it does work and it is simple enough that most people with a basic knowledge of VBA could implement it. I would like to share this with others, to save them the frustration I had (and possibly money too, if they need their data that bad). StackOverflow seems the best place to put it, but I worry that because this is so directly linked with potentially nefarious uses that it will likely be deleted. What say you? Can it be safely posted, is there a better place for it (on or off StackExchange), or should I just take my secrets to the grave?

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Or sell it. Either you gain money, or the world gains a new problem solver. –  Damien Pirsy Jul 16 '12 at 18:07
Oooh, hadn't thought of that. If I had a place to post it that allowed donations, I might. I've used enough free software (with and without donating) that it'd be nice to be on the other side for once. My concern there would be that it would never show up in someone's search, thus rendering it useless to them, which is why I thought of putting it on SO. –  techturtle Jul 16 '12 at 18:23
Well, if it took 75 minutes for a 4 digit password, you might find it impractical for anything but trivial cases. On that note, releasing it probably won't be harmful. –  Wug Jul 16 '12 at 18:38

2 Answers 2

Those protections are fairly easy to crack and, as you mention, there are tools that do that anyway. So I don't think it makes the world a worse place if you publish your result...

And if you do, you might even gain reputation as this other similar question can attest!

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From Access 2007 and on, the database security was significantly strengthened, so the old cracks don't work. I have a free password recovery tool for 2003 and earlier, but couldn't find any for 2007. Still, your link proves that it is possible to post such content and not have it immediately removed. –  techturtle Jul 17 '12 at 21:13

You'll find there are a range of free tools already available that are optimised for CPU and GPU hardware.

I would suggest checking out John the Ripper or Cain and Abel - or have a look at all the tools available on the BackTrack Linux security LiveCD

But if you want to discuss it at all, http://security.stackexchange.com could be a good place to start

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I did look at a lot of the free tools, including the two you mentioned. I even installed Cain and Abel, but couldn't figure out how to make it try to open an Access database. Most of those tools were geared for accessing domains and networks, from what I could tell. Still, these don't answer my question about appropriate content on SO. The option of Security.SE is a thought, though. –  techturtle Jul 17 '12 at 21:10
I think I must have not read the database bit of your question initially, sorry. These tools are for breaking password hashes, not database encryption. –  Rory Alsop Jul 17 '12 at 21:19

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