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Recovering a Stored Password from a Web Browser

While troubleshooting a networking problem for a client, I ran into a fairly common problem after retrieving some network equipment from the company's storage room. We easily reconfigured one device because the client's web browser had pre-filled the device's login and password. But we couldn't configure two other pieces of equipment; he's new to the network support group and didn't know the passwords, and the web browser didn’t have the login credentials.

My first suggestion was to reset the device to factory settings, but there was some specific configuration parameters that he didn’t want to lose. He asked if I had, or knew of any utilities that will recover passwords stored in web browsers. However, the company's security protocol prevented me from bringing my laptop onsite. When I tried to access some websites to get some recovery software from the client's PC, internet access was tightly restricted and I was basically blocked.

Then I remembered an old hack, or trick, to recover the stored password using the browser's Inspect/Element feature. In this video, I demonstrate how this works.  

You'll see how quick this trick is. In this case, I used Internet Explorer, but it works with most any browser and many sites. While the hack was helpful in this troubleshooting situation, it's also an eye-opener to the risks associated with storing passwords in your browser, extensions or other applications.