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Firefox lost master password
Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit Linux 3.2.0-67-generic GNOME 3.4.2 AMD Phenom II X4 920 3.9 GiB ram 1.6 TiB available disk space 149 GiB swap Firefox 31.0 (Canonical 1.0)
Everything seems to be running normally, then I try to log in and firefox does not auto-fill the password. The password file is empty. I am unable to reset the master password. This is the second time this happened. The first time I tried everything, including a complete uninstall before an install. The only thing that worked was to use a spare hard drive install Ubuntu 12.04 AMD64.
All Replies (4)
Hmm.. there are a lot of ways to obtain a password, but they aren't always legal.
Firstly check if there is a forgot password feature on the website you try to get access to, if there is they often sent a reset link for your password to the email you registered with.
If there isn't such a link, but you did have to register with your email address try to contact the administrators or support team and ask them if there is a way to get access to your account. Email adresses nowadays aren't always trustworthy however since they can be spoofed, so it's possible they don't want to help you that way.
I recommend using another password manager like KeePass since it's a little more secure and, although there aren't as much viruses for linux as for Windows it's always a good idea to store your passwords someplace outside your browser, if you choose to store them somewhere at all.
If you re-used your password anywhere you might try these steps on the website(s) where you did.
Then there's always the option of brute-forcing your password/using a dictionary attack, but you shouldn't get to this, since this is illegal. What you might try to do however, is try SOME combinations that are similar to the passwords you've used before. If you used very complicated passwords and you trusted Firefox to store it, you are probably out of luck.
I recommend you use passphrases as your passwords, because they are pretty easy to remember as long as you use a website often enough. Also I recommend having a backup of your passwords on a password protected USB to make sure you won't lose your passwords again.
You do not seem to understand the question. Simply put, the Firefox password manager failed to function. I would like to find out why the Firefox password manager failed. It never failed before the latest update. Like any intermittent problem, identifying the trigger for the failure is unlikely. I am hoping that someone smarter than me had the same problem and has more information.
I have keepass2 v2.18 from the precise/universe archive, but have yet to figure out how to make it work. I know that v2.27 is available, but I will wait until it is included in the archive.
I did find a work around that provides a temporary fix, but I still want a permanent solution as the problem keeps recurring. It is difficult to stop work to execute the work around.
I do not use passwords that are subject to dictionary attacks. Most sites do not show the maximum number of characters allowed in a password, so I enter 1024 ASCII characters and count the dots to determine the number of valid characters in the password. This seems to work most of the time, but I did crash one website that did not truncate the input. I also came across a website that actually used all the characters. The only other problem is that some of the characters I use are not accepted by the website. I do not know why this should be as I only use printable ASCII characters.
Finally, I do have additional backups to replace the terminated UbuntuOne cloud storage service.
It is possible that there is a problem with the key3.db and signons.sqlite files that store the encrypted names and passwords in Firefox. Rename the key3.db and signons.sqlite files in the Firefox profile folder. You can add .old to the file names (key3.db.old and signons.sqlite.old) or move them to another folder to make it possible to undo the action. You need to set a new Master Password after renaming or deleting key3.db and all currently saved passwords are lost. If that has worked then you can remove the renamed files that are no longer needed. Otherwise you can rename the files to their previous names (signons.sqlite and key3.db).
You can use this button to go to the currently used Firefox profile folder:
- Help > Troubleshooting Information > Profile Directory: Show Folder (Linux: Open Directory; Mac: Show in Finder)
I tried your suggestions individually. Neither ~/.mozilla/firefox/~.default/key3.db nor ~/.mozilla/firefox/~.default/signons.sqlite, individually or together, were the problem. The only change that made a difference was my temporary work-around, to delete ~/.mozilla/firefox/~.default/cert8.db to temporarily restore the Firefox password manager function. But this work-around is nothing but a temporary fix, not a solution. I can only hope that the next update will include a solution.
The links you provided, although relevant to usage, did not suggest what may be corrupting the cert8.db file. Perhaps accessing the contents of the cert8.db file the next time the Firefox password manager fails will yield a clue to someone that has some experience with database files and their usage in Firefox.
I have also found that shutting down the computer when it is not in use extends the time before failure. I have been shutting down the computer daily and have yet to have a failure.
Still no clue as to the cause of or the trigger for the failue.
Modified by jamesthirteen