Finding Hidden Saved Passwords in Windows
We should be security conscious when online or while using applications that require security access and passwords.
While accessing and browsing websites in the browser or accessing protected file shares on the network, windows silently works in the background and might store the credentials in various locations within the operating system.
These credentials are stored in an encrypted format, but can be easily decrypted using windows password.
Below are the several tools one can use to view the hidden passwords on the system.
Windows Credential Manager
To get started, let’s talk about the built-in tool called Credential Manager that is in Windows. Click on Start and type in credential manager to open the program.
You’ll notice there are two categories: Web Credentials and Windows Credentials. The web credentials will have any passwords from sites that you saved while browsing in Internet Explorer. Click on the down arrow and then click on the Show link.
You’ll have to type in your Windows password in order to decrypt the password. I was surprised to see quite a few passwords from various accounts even though I use a password manager and turn off saving passwords in the browser! Also, I had several passwords from other people who I had allowed to use my computer to check their email, etc., and their passwords got saved.
So that’s something you should know when you login to an account while using another person’s computer, even if they are someone you trust. You may not want them to know your login credentials.
If you click on Windows Credentials, you’ll probably see fewer credentials stored here unless you work in a corporate environment. These are credentials when connecting to network shares, different computers on the network, or network devices such as a NAS.
In the same vein you can view Google Chrome saved passwords. Basically, each browser has the same feature, so you can do the same thing for Firefox, Safari, etc. In chrome, click on the three dots at the top right and then click on Settings, scroll down and then click on Show advanced settings.
Under Passwords and forms, click on the Manage saved passwords link next to Offer to save your web passwords.