I am a noob :)

I am attempting to recover a password from a piece of software. The software has a XML file contains three fields that appear important to this process: Password Value, EncryptionKey Value, and PasswordEncoding Value. PasswordEncoding Value is set to 12000 (in case that helps).

The other two fields appear to be base64 strings that, when decoded, seem to be nonprintable characters.

I want to use Python to try to find the type of enc used in hopes of decrypting the Password Value field. What are common types of Encryption that would store data in base64 in a xml file? This is from a Windows app.

Thank you

1 Answer 1


Encryption is a mathematical operation which scrambles your readable data into unreadable data. To make the resultant ciphertexts less predictable, algorithms have to ensure that the entropy is high.

In other words, if you take a large plaintext sample - for example a wikipedia article, the number of occurrences of 't' and 'e' would be considerably high and that of non- printable characters would be almost nil. If a substitution cipher (a for c e for b etc. Caesar ciphers, rot13 etc. ) is used an attacker can use this knowledge to retrieve plaintext from ciphertext.

The outputs of modern ciphers such as AES would be so random such that there is no one to one character mapping possible. This can be cumbersome when your application has to handle it as a string. So they encode the ciphertext to base64 strings - to make it printable.

In other words, just because the ciphertext or key is encoded in base64 you wont be able to predict the cipher suite.

  • Thanks for your reply hax. Any advice on iterating over multiple enc types to see if any of them spit out something recognizable? Thanks again.
    – D3l_Gato
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 18:37
  • Were you able to decompile the software and see what method it uses?
    – hax
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 18:45
  • I only have IDA Free which, afaik, doesnt decompile. I am open to any suggestions :) Thanks again hax
    – D3l_Gato
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 19:00
  • Try binaryninja or any other free decompiler?
    – hax
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 19:03
  • I'll try BinaryNinja and will see what I can find. Thank you!
    – D3l_Gato
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 19:50

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