Breaking a Password Manager

Interesting story of breaking the security of the RoboForm password manager in order to recover a cryptocurrency wallet password.

Grand and Bruno spent months reverse engineering the version of the RoboForm program that they thought Michael had used in 2013 and found that the pseudo-random number generator used to generate passwords in that version­and subsequent versions until 2015­did indeed have a significant flaw that made the random number generator not so random. The RoboForm program unwisely tied the random passwords it generated to the date and time on the user’s computer­it determined the computer’s date and time, and then generated passwords that were predictable. If you knew the date and time and other parameters, you could compute any password that would have been generated on a certain date and time in the past.

If Michael knew the day or general time frame in 2013 when he generated it, as well as the parameters he used to generate the password (for example, the number of characters in the password, including lower- and upper-case letters, figures, and special characters), this would narrow the possible password guesses to a manageable number. Then they could hijack the RoboForm function responsible for checking the date and time on a computer and get it to travel back in time, believing the current date was a day in the 2013 time frame when Michael generated his password. RoboForm would then spit out the same passwords it generated on the days in 2013.