Scientists have shown that humans harldy ever lose memories. Memories are not lost, but simply are inaccessible. This is good news if you forgot your wallet passwords or passphrase since it implies your brain still holds the password! In this blog, we will discuss how you can access the latent memories of your wallet password.

If memories are not lost, why I cannot remember my password? The best way to understand the brain is through analogy with computers. When you delete a file on a hard drive or a USB stick, only the handle or address that points to the file in the memory is deleted. The file itself is still there. Using file recovery software, deleted files can be easily recovered. Similarly, a lost memory means you lost the right address(es) to access the memory in your brain, the memory itself is still there.

This is however where the analogy between the brain and computer ends. Computers are binary, meaning there is only one address pointing to each file in the memory in most cases. The human brain, however, consists of a network of interlinked neurons. A memory therefore contains many contextual based links such as associations. The more of theses associations are connected to a particular memory, the easier it will be to remember. Finding the right combination of associations or stimuli can therefore allow you to access the latent memories of your wallet password. In this article we will discuss two powerful techniques to access these memories or provide clues on your lost bitcoin password.

Two techniques to recover your lost bitcoins

The following two techniques can enable you to recover your password: (1) Memory recovery and (2) Digital forensics. Memory recovery technique enables you to remember words you might have use as part of your password. Digital forensics helps you to identify the right stimuli or context to use with memory recovery techniques. The combination of these two techniques is very powerful. Below, we discussed these two techniques in details.

1. Memory recovery – hack your own brain

Memory recovery works by recreating the situation or context in which a memory was created. In the case of password recovery, this means that you have to remember the kind of person and the situation you were in at the time you created your password.

For example, if you created the password while living in a student room. Imagine that you are in that room if possible, or simply lay down on your bed and relax while imagining that you are in that same room. Look around and try to remember all the details of that room. How did the carpet smell? Which books were in your cabinet? How was the view from the windows? What sound did you hear? How was the taste of the whisky that you were drinking? The more of these stimuli you can recall or recreate, the bigger the chance you hit the right neural pathways to access your memory.

Also try to remember who were the people you met at that time? Which places did you visit? Which topics did you think and talk about at the time you created your wallet? Basically you are doing forensics on your past life, analyzing every fragment of you life of the time you created your wallets password. Doing this alone might be hard, so it might be good to talk with friends and familly you knew around this time. Basically you have to become the you from the time that you created your wallet and your password. Do not give up easily, it might take many tries to find the right state of mind to make these memory tricks work.

Help, I tried all of the above and still have no idea what my password might be! Do not fear, you think you might not remember the password but you probably remember names, movies, series, dates, and numbers from around that time. These might be fragments of your password. Write down all these possible fragments. These can help you recover your full password using our wallet password recovery service. Or if you prefer to attempt to recover your password on your own, check out the wallet password recovery software in the FAQ section.

But hold on, you only tried memory recovery techniques. Memory techniques however work best if you can recall as much as you can about your past life. And that is where digital- forensic, comes into play. Digital forensics is the art of analyzing your ‘digital memory’. Nowadays, vast amounts of information about you are stored on every device as well as on the internet.

2. Digital forensics

Digital forensics is the science of recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices. Digital forensics software allows you to create a timeline of your digital activities. These include files you created, movies you watched, programs you used, websites you visited, and people you emailed. To get started with digital forensics, it is important to determine the approximate time your created your bitcoin wallet password. An easy way to do this is by looking at the transaction in your wallet. The transactions in your wallet can be accessed without your wallets password. Based on your email records, browser history, chat record and social media post, you can learn what you were doing and thinking when you created your wallets password. By analyzing which files were created on your PC around that time, you can learn what you were working on and which movies and series you were watching. Even if you might have deleted these movies and series, if you use emule, torrents or news groups to download them, a record of these downloads is still available on your computer. Specialized digital forensics software can be used to retrieve and analyze information from your computer. The three most useful functions of digital forensics software for our purpose are:

  1. Construct a timeline
  2. Recover ‘deleted’  or hidden files
  3. Search for patterns within files or in their metadata

1) People, unlike machines are highly predictable and use fragments of informations, items and people they are exposed to construct their passwords. The timeline can help you to recover these fragments. The timeline can show changes in the file system, registry, as well as web and email activity. These changes show what you did and what information you were exposed to when you created your passwords. Reexposing yourself to the same information makes it likely you trigger some memories associated to your bitcon password or to fragments of your password. Fragments can be words, numbers, names encountered in series, computer games, books, or real life. Write all possible fragments that come to mind down. These list of fragments are invaluable for password recovery either for yourself or for your recovery service provider.

2) Another great use of digital forensics tools is to search for hidden or deleted files. You might be able to recover a hidden note or even recover an old version of your wallet before encrypting it. Be warned though, it is extremely unsafe to keep any digital record or photo of your passwords or wallet recovery seed.

3) You can search all files on your system for certain patterns such words used in wallet recovery seed or a pattern matching a privatekey.
If you use Linux, you can use the command below to search your whole files system for patterns that match both a compressed or uncompressed privatekey (Source):

grep -r '\b[5KL][1-9A-HJ-NP-Za-km-z]\{50,51\}\b' *

You can also run this command on Windows since bash and Linux can be installed on Windows. However be warned that grep on windows runs a lot slower than it does on Linux. It might be more efficient to use the build in regular expression searches from a digital forensics software packages. Alternatively you can use this very simple find and replace programe to search for patterns in files.

Digital forensics software

The three analysis techiques discussed above are available in all digital forensics software. Most of these analyses can be done with a few clicks. These are the digital forensics software we can recommend: