Advertisement
Advertisement


Is there a way to crack the password on an Excel VBA Project?


Question

I've been asked to update some Excel 2003 macros, but the VBA projects are password protected, and it seems there's a lack of documentation... no-one knows the passwords.

Is there a way of removing or cracking the password on a VBA project?

2018/12/16
1
493
12/16/2018 9:41:32 AM

Accepted Answer

You can try this direct VBA approach which doesn't require HEX editing. It will work for any files (*.xls, *.xlsm, *.xlam ...).

Tested and works on:

Excel 2007
Excel 2010
Excel 2013 - 32 bit version
Excel 2016 - 32 bit version

Looking for 64 bit version? See this answer

How it works

I will try my best to explain how it works - please excuse my English.

  1. The VBE will call a system function to create the password dialog box.
  2. If user enters the right password and click OK, this function returns 1. If user enters the wrong password or click Cancel, this function returns 0.
  3. After the dialog box is closed, the VBE checks the returned value of the system function
  4. if this value is 1, the VBE will "think" that the password is right, hence the locked VBA project will be opened.
  5. The code below swaps the memory of the original function used to display the password dialog with a user defined function that will always return 1 when being called.

Using the code

Please backup your files first!

  1. Open the file(s) that contain your locked VBA Projects
  2. Create a new xlsm file and store this code in Module1

    code credited to Siwtom (nick name), a Vietnamese developer

    Option Explicit
    
    Private Const PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE = &H40
    
    Private Declare Sub MoveMemory Lib "kernel32" Alias "RtlMoveMemory" _
            (Destination As Long, Source As Long, ByVal Length As Long)
    
    Private Declare Function VirtualProtect Lib "kernel32" (lpAddress As Long, _
            ByVal dwSize As Long, ByVal flNewProtect As Long, lpflOldProtect As Long) As Long
    
    Private Declare Function GetModuleHandleA Lib "kernel32" (ByVal lpModuleName As String) As Long
    
    Private Declare Function GetProcAddress Lib "kernel32" (ByVal hModule As Long, _
            ByVal lpProcName As String) As Long
    
    Private Declare Function DialogBoxParam Lib "user32" Alias "DialogBoxParamA" (ByVal hInstance As Long, _
            ByVal pTemplateName As Long, ByVal hWndParent As Long, _
            ByVal lpDialogFunc As Long, ByVal dwInitParam As Long) As Integer
    
    Dim HookBytes(0 To 5) As Byte
    Dim OriginBytes(0 To 5) As Byte
    Dim pFunc As Long
    Dim Flag As Boolean
    
    Private Function GetPtr(ByVal Value As Long) As Long
        GetPtr = Value
    End Function
    
    Public Sub RecoverBytes()
        If Flag Then MoveMemory ByVal pFunc, ByVal VarPtr(OriginBytes(0)), 6
    End Sub
    
    Public Function Hook() As Boolean
        Dim TmpBytes(0 To 5) As Byte
        Dim p As Long
        Dim OriginProtect As Long
    
        Hook = False
    
        pFunc = GetProcAddress(GetModuleHandleA("user32.dll"), "DialogBoxParamA")
    
    
        If VirtualProtect(ByVal pFunc, 6, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, OriginProtect) <> 0 Then
    
            MoveMemory ByVal VarPtr(TmpBytes(0)), ByVal pFunc, 6
            If TmpBytes(0) <> &H68 Then
    
                MoveMemory ByVal VarPtr(OriginBytes(0)), ByVal pFunc, 6
    
                p = GetPtr(AddressOf MyDialogBoxParam)
    
                HookBytes(0) = &H68
                MoveMemory ByVal VarPtr(HookBytes(1)), ByVal VarPtr(p), 4
                HookBytes(5) = &HC3
    
                MoveMemory ByVal pFunc, ByVal VarPtr(HookBytes(0)), 6
                Flag = True
                Hook = True
            End If
        End If
    End Function
    
    Private Function MyDialogBoxParam(ByVal hInstance As Long, _
            ByVal pTemplateName As Long, ByVal hWndParent As Long, _
            ByVal lpDialogFunc As Long, ByVal dwInitParam As Long) As Integer
        If pTemplateName = 4070 Then
            MyDialogBoxParam = 1
        Else
            RecoverBytes
            MyDialogBoxParam = DialogBoxParam(hInstance, pTemplateName, _
                               hWndParent, lpDialogFunc, dwInitParam)
            Hook
        End If
    End Function
    
  3. Paste this code under the above code in Module1 and run it

    Sub unprotected()
        If Hook Then
            MsgBox "VBA Project is unprotected!", vbInformation, "*****"
        End If
    End Sub
    
  4. Come back to your VBA Projects and enjoy.

711
7/26/2019 7:03:30 PM

Yes there is, as long as you are using a .xls format spreadsheet (the default for Excel up to 2003). For Excel 2007 onwards, the default is .xlsx, which is a fairly secure format, and this method will not work.

As Treb says, it's a simple comparison. One method is to simply swap out the password entry in the file using a hex editor (see Hex editors for Windows). Step by step example:

  1. Create a new simple excel file.
  2. In the VBA part, set a simple password (say - 1234).
  3. Save the file and exit. Then check the file size - see Stewbob's gotcha
  4. Open the file you just created with a hex editor.
  5. Copy the lines starting with the following keys:

    CMG=....
    DPB=...
    GC=...
    
  6. FIRST BACKUP the excel file you don't know the VBA password for, then open it with your hex editor, and paste the above copied lines from the dummy file.

  7. Save the excel file and exit.
  8. Now, open the excel file you need to see the VBA code in. The password for the VBA code will simply be 1234 (as in the example I'm showing here).

If you need to work with Excel 2007 or 2010, there are some other answers below which might help, particularly these: 1, 2, 3.

EDIT Feb 2015: for another method that looks very promising, look at this new answer by Đức Thanh Nguyễn.

2017/05/23

I've built upon Đức Thanh Nguyễn's fantastic answer to allow this method to work with 64-bit versions of Excel. I'm running Excel 2010 64-Bit on 64-Bit Windows 7.

  1. Open the file(s) that contain your locked VBA Projects.
  2. Create a new xlsm file and store this code in Module1

    Option Explicit
    
    Private Const PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE = &H40
    
    Private Declare PtrSafe Sub MoveMemory Lib "kernel32" Alias "RtlMoveMemory" _
    (Destination As LongPtr, Source As LongPtr, ByVal Length As LongPtr)
    
    Private Declare PtrSafe Function VirtualProtect Lib "kernel32" (lpAddress As LongPtr, _
    ByVal dwSize As LongPtr, ByVal flNewProtect As LongPtr, lpflOldProtect As LongPtr) As LongPtr
    
    Private Declare PtrSafe Function GetModuleHandleA Lib "kernel32" (ByVal lpModuleName As String) As LongPtr
    
    Private Declare PtrSafe Function GetProcAddress Lib "kernel32" (ByVal hModule As LongPtr, _
    ByVal lpProcName As String) As LongPtr
    
    Private Declare PtrSafe Function DialogBoxParam Lib "user32" Alias "DialogBoxParamA" (ByVal hInstance As LongPtr, _
    ByVal pTemplateName As LongPtr, ByVal hWndParent As LongPtr, _
    ByVal lpDialogFunc As LongPtr, ByVal dwInitParam As LongPtr) As Integer
    
    Dim HookBytes(0 To 5) As Byte
    Dim OriginBytes(0 To 5) As Byte
    Dim pFunc As LongPtr
    Dim Flag As Boolean
    
    Private Function GetPtr(ByVal Value As LongPtr) As LongPtr
        GetPtr = Value
    End Function
    
    Public Sub RecoverBytes()
        If Flag Then MoveMemory ByVal pFunc, ByVal VarPtr(OriginBytes(0)), 6
    End Sub
    
    Public Function Hook() As Boolean
        Dim TmpBytes(0 To 5) As Byte
        Dim p As LongPtr
        Dim OriginProtect As LongPtr
    
        Hook = False
    
        pFunc = GetProcAddress(GetModuleHandleA("user32.dll"), "DialogBoxParamA")
    
    
        If VirtualProtect(ByVal pFunc, 6, PAGE_EXECUTE_READWRITE, OriginProtect) <> 0 Then
    
            MoveMemory ByVal VarPtr(TmpBytes(0)), ByVal pFunc, 6
            If TmpBytes(0) <> &H68 Then
    
                MoveMemory ByVal VarPtr(OriginBytes(0)), ByVal pFunc, 6
    
                p = GetPtr(AddressOf MyDialogBoxParam)
    
                HookBytes(0) = &H68
                MoveMemory ByVal VarPtr(HookBytes(1)), ByVal VarPtr(p), 4
                HookBytes(5) = &HC3
    
                MoveMemory ByVal pFunc, ByVal VarPtr(HookBytes(0)), 6
                Flag = True
                Hook = True
            End If
        End If
    End Function
    
    Private Function MyDialogBoxParam(ByVal hInstance As LongPtr, _
    ByVal pTemplateName As LongPtr, ByVal hWndParent As LongPtr, _
    ByVal lpDialogFunc As LongPtr, ByVal dwInitParam As LongPtr) As Integer
    
        If pTemplateName = 4070 Then
            MyDialogBoxParam = 1
        Else
            RecoverBytes
            MyDialogBoxParam = DialogBoxParam(hInstance, pTemplateName, _
                       hWndParent, lpDialogFunc, dwInitParam)
            Hook
        End If
    End Function
    
  3. Paste this code in Module2 and run it

    Sub unprotected()
        If Hook Then
            MsgBox "VBA Project is unprotected!", vbInformation, "*****"
        End If
    End Sub
    

DISCLAIMER This worked for me and I have documented it here in the hope it will help someone out. I have not fully tested it. Please be sure to save all open files before proceeding with this option.

2015/06/25

There is another (somewhat easier) solution, without the size problems. I used this approach today (on a 2003 XLS file, using Excel 2007) and was successful.

  1. Backup the xls file
  2. Open the file in a HEX editor and locate the DPB=... part
  3. Change the DPB=... string to DPx=...
  4. Open the xls file in Excel
  5. Open the VBA editor (ALT + F11)
  6. the magic: Excel discovers an invalid key (DPx) and asks whether you want to continue loading the project (basically ignoring the protection)
  7. You will be able to overwrite the password, so change it to something you can remember
  8. Save the xls file*
  9. Close and reopen the document and work your VBA magic!

*NOTE: Be sure that you have changed the password to a new value, otherwise the next time you open the spreadsheet Excel will report errors (Unexpected Error), then when you access the list of VBA modules you will now see the names of the source modules but receive another error when trying to open forms/code/etc. To remedy this, go back to the VBA Project Properties and set the password to a new value. Save and re-open the Excel document and you should be good to go!

2017/04/03

Colin Pickard has an excellent answer, but there is one 'watch out' with this. There are instances (I haven't figured out the cause yet) where the total length of the "CMG=........GC=...." entry in the file is different from one excel file to the next. In some cases, this entry will be 137 bytes, and in others it will be 143 bytes. The 137 byte length is the odd one, and if this happens when you create your file with the '1234' password, just create another file, and it should jump to the 143 byte length.

If you try to paste the wrong number of bytes into the file, you will lose your VBA project when you try to open the file with Excel.

EDIT

This is not valid for Excel 2007/2010 files. The standard .xlsx file format is actually a .zip file containing numerous sub-folders with the formatting, layout, content, etc, stored as xml data. For an unprotected Excel 2007 file, you can just change the .xlsx extension to .zip, then open the zip file and look through all the xml data. It's very straightforward.

However, when you password protect an Excel 2007 file, the entire .zip (.xlsx) file is actually encrypted using RSA encryption. It is no longer possible to change the extension to .zip and browse the file contents.

2012/02/16

For a .xlsm or .dotm file type you need to do it a slightly different way.

  1. Change the extension of the .xlsm file to .zip.
  2. Open the .zip file (with WinZip or WinRar etc) and go to the xl folder.
  3. Extract the vbaProject.bin file and open it in a Hex Editor (I use HxD, its completely free and lightweight.)
  4. Search for DPB and replace with DPx and save the file.
  5. Replace the old vbaProject.bin file with this new on in the zipped file.
  6. Change the file extension back to .xlsm.
  7. Open workbook skip through the warning messages.
  8. Open up Visual Basic inside Excel.
  9. Go to Tools > VBAProject Properties > Protection Tab.
  10. Put in a new password and save the .xlsm file.
  11. Close and re open and your new password will work.
2018/06/15

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1026483
Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with: Stack Overflow
Email: [email protected]