Big fun finding my father’s passwords. A cautionary tale

When a loved one dies, you might find yourself needing to hack into their computers to get access to bank accounts, etc. You might think that their online password manager will be helpful, assuming you know the password, and if you don’t, you can just use password recovery, right? Ha!

Online password managers don’t store your master password. That’s why they’re so powerful. So, it behooves all of us to make sure a trusted someone knows our passwords. Luckily, someone knew my dad’s Windows password. But that didn’t help with bank accounts and Gmail. Luckily, he used Firefox, which has a gaping security hole that allows stored passwords to be viewed in plaintext. This enabled me to get the passwords. Without this security hole, we would have not been able to get the passwords.

If you might have to do this one day with a elderly parent or relative, consider a few test runs on their computer first. My dad had right and left mouse key functionality switched, the caps lock light on his keyboard didn’t work AND the caps lock was broken so nothing was ever capitalized. Since a couple of his passwords have caps in them, I had to send them as an email to his account then cut and paste into the password field.

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