Excel Password Security
Cracking Excel Passwords
Excel contains robust password protection in which you can lock and protect:
(a) individual sheets or
(b) VBA code pages
The password security scheme in Excel is strong and will reliably control access to your data..... (cough!) No... it won't.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), Excel passwords are easy to crack. Have you or a colleague forgotten the password in your Excel file? Has a coworker left your company and didn't give anyone the passwords to Excel files? This is a common occurrence (since users are generally terrible at managing passwords), so let's get into how to crack Excel's various password protections. In these instructions I am covering Sheet cracks and VBA Code cracks.
To note: Both methods of password cracking share a procedure for redefining an Excel file as a compressed ZIP file. Then, the cracking processes follow with unzipping the file, making one change, and re-zipping (re-compressing) the file. So, let's look at these processes:
- Using the ZIP process to reveal Excel file XML contents. You must do this first for all three cracking methods below.
- Cracking the password for individual Excel Sheets
- Cracking the password protecting VBA code modules (more complicated)