Saturday, 16 June 2012

Forgotten your SSH Password?

How to quickly recover your SSH password

If you are like me your memory sometimes fails you and like today I tried to login with SSH into my server with Putty and couldn't remember my password. After about five attempts of all the ones I could remember I decided to give up incase I blocked myself.

Luckily I had added my IP into AllowHosts so I wouldn't be blocked by the DenyHosts settings which contain a long long list of IP addresses who have tried hacking my server but it was obviously doing my head in.

I then thought of a quick way of recovering it.

I could access WebMin in Chrome easily as my password was auto-filled stored but in Firefox it wasn't which had the web developer toolbar. Therefore as copying passwords doesn't work I couldn't use the web developer toolbar to show the password with a single button click.

Therefore in Chrome with the auto-filled password for my https://domain.com:10000 login page I did the following.


  • Hit F12 - this opens the developers console
  • Choose the Console tab
  • In the console write the necessary code to change the type of the input from "password" to "text"
  • If the password doesn't have an ID like VirtualMin then you can just access the first password in the form e.g:

document.forms[0].pass.type = 'text';


And if my magic your password field will change into a text input and you can retrieve your password.

And if your in any doubt about why you should leave your computers locked when you are away from your desk then this should be a reminder to you!

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