Cracking a Gmail Password

I love when I get to be a on-site computer repair Tulsa hero.  It isn’t often that you get to fix a computer where the stakes are very high for a customer.  This was one of those times.

A on-site computer repair Tulsa customer called me the other day because an employee had quit and refused to turn over the password he set up on a company Gmail account.  This was critical to their business because there were estimates, invoices, and customer correspondence in that email account.  Losing those emails would have cost the customer a great deal financially.  I did some investigating and found that the customer had him set up a personal Gmail email account to use for the business.  This company was smaller and didn’t have their own email domain set up so they just used personal Gmail accounts for all correspondence with their customers.  When I heard that, my heart sank.  I knew the odds of us cracking that password or getting Google to reset it were very low.

First, I tried to help the on-site computer repair Tulsa customer remotely to avoid a service call fee.  I had the customer provide me the email address and what the password should have been.  We tried that and of course it didn’t work.  I then tried to go through the password recovery options in Gmail.  The initial option was to send a recovery link to a cell phone but it was linked to the former employee’s phone so that was not an option.  The second option was to answer questions in an attempt to recover the account.  Gmail asked basic questions like what a recent password was, what date the email was created, and so on.  When we filled out all the questions Gmail stated that they wouldn’t reset it for us.  Now the only hope was to get the employee to talk or get lucky and find the actual password. Since I don’t know any mafia members that could make the employee talk, cracking the password was our only option short of litigation.

As a last-ditch effort, I went to the customer’s business, hoping we might get lucky by looking at the actual computer.  My initial thought was that we might find the former employee had saved the password in the browser auto-save and we could access the Gmail account in that way.  When I arrived at the business, I sat down at the computer and looked in Internet Explorer and Google Chrome and found that none of the passwords were set to auto enter when you visited websites.  I looked in Google Chrome and found that the former employee had been syncing the Google account to Chrome and there was a list of website and passwords.  There were about 75 saved passwords to various sites.  The employee was signed out of the Google account in Chrome but Chrome allowed me to view the passwords even though the Google sync had been turned off.  There was a password saved for the Gmail account we needed but of course that didn’t work.  I looked at the passwords for other sites the former employee had used and saw there were some repeat and similarly-themed passwords.  I started trying every password in that list.  Fortunately, Gmail didn’t lock us out of the account while I tried several different passwords.  About two-thirds down the list I hit pay dirt.  A password for a completely unrelated website matched what the former employee had used for the company email account!  We hooped and hollered and high-fived as we saw over 200 emails that had been lost until that moment.  The on-site computer repair Tulsa customer was ecstatic and we recovered their company data without having to resort to lawsuits against the former employee.  What a great win!

I spoke with the customer and found out they were using Dream Host to host their website, which is a great hosting company.  I educated them on how easy it would be to set up email accounts based on their company domain that they could manage and control.  This level of control would protect them in the future against disgruntled employees.  Having their emails delivered as instead of would also present a more professional image to their customers.  The best part is that they can continue to use the Gmail interface with their email so it would be a seamless transition for them.  This is all a service of Google Apps.  Click here to read my full article about Google Apps.

This customer is a great example of a great on-site computer repair Tulsa service call.  Not only will our professional Fireytech technician work to resolve your issue but they will also look for solutions that will improve your business.  Fireytech cares about our on-site computer repair Tulsa customers.

If you need a great experience with your on-site computer repair Tulsa, please call and schedule your appointment for one of our experienced computer repair techs to come to your home or business and resolve your issue!