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I forgot the password to an old Yahoo account as well as the answers to my security questions. When I try to recover it using keychain, I only find a very long series of letters and numbers that is not the password (I would never come up with that, and even when I try to use it to open my account, it doesn't work).

Now, I don't rely care about the account any more, but the funny thing is that I can still log in on Yahoo messenger from my Mac, which means that the password IS saved somewhere in the machine.

Any idea how I can recover the password itself if it's not in the keychain?

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Depending on the browser you're using, the password may be stored in its data structures.

  • Apple Safari - Go to Preferences > Passwords tab
  • Google Chrome - Go to Preferences > Settings > Show Advanced Settings... link > Passwords and forms > Manage Passwords link
  • Mozilla Firefox - Go to Preferences > Security tab > Saved Passwords button
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Great places to find passwords ;-) – bmike Jul 26 '14 at 17:52
Thanks for the tip, but I use the Yahoo app to log in, which is independent of any browser... – user99074 Jul 27 '14 at 12:44

Actually, the password may not be stored on your Mac since most log in services use the password to generate a cryptographically strong (or at least significantly longer) string that acts as a "cookie" to authenticate your client to access the servers that hold your yahoo content.

Unless you used a different program than Keychain to store the original password itself, you have checked the primary source of saved passwords on OS X and might not be able to recover the original password.

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So apps also use "cookies"? – user99074 Jul 27 '14 at 12:44
Indeed. It is a common authentication idiom across any client/server communications channel these days. – bmike Jul 27 '14 at 15:14

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