I did everything wrong :( Help me hack into my own Toast Wallet???
May 10, 2021 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Flashback to two years ago - my 14yo son convinced me to buy some XRP, and said I needed something called a cold wallet to keep it in. So I hooked up an old empty hard drive, downloaded toast wallet, jumped through a bunch of crypto-hoops and viola, I bought the XRP. Ha-ha! I thought. Those hackers will never get me! I'll write all my info on a sticky note and tape it to the hard drive! ...

Toast Wallet uses a 6-digit password that you physically click with the mouse to enter on the on-screen keypad. Did I choose an easy to remember password? APPARENTLY NOT. Did I take a picture of my toastwallet password and all the other esoteric login info? Of course not - someone might steal it from my iCloud! Did I save it on my computer? Of course not! My computer is not "cold" enough, now is it? (I"m such a cyber-expert now!)...

So, of course, the sticky with all the info went missing about a year ago, but XRP was in the toilet so I put it out of my mind and figured I would sort it out when the time come. But now it's shot back up and worth 4X what I paid for it. So...HOW CAN I UNLOCK MY TOASTWALLET???

Is there some kind of app or dongle that will do a speed run on 6-digit passwords like Eddie Furlong did at the ATM in Terminator 2? Any other suggestions???
posted by ericbop to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
According to their website, if you forget your "passphrase" you can use your "recovery phrase." Does that ring any bells? Maybe a sentence or a punchline?

"I've lost my passphrase. How do I recover my wallet using my recovery phrase?
Go to change passphrase in the settings menu. Enter your recovery phrase where it says 'current passphrase' then reset your passphrase as normal. If this doesn't work make sure you've updated to the latest version of Toast Wallet. If it still doesn't work try restore your backup on PC or browser version and try your recovery phrase there."


Your recovery phrase is six words long, all lower case no spaces at the start or end, exactly one space between each word. If it's not working it can be because you have extra whitespace. Additionally certain phones can be troublesome when attempting to use recovery phrase; you may need to restore your backup code on PC or browser version first then use recovery phrase to change your passphrase there.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 3:51 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Unfortunately among the many things I did wrong, one of them was not choosing a recovery phrase that I remember without the missing sticky. I reeally suck.
posted by ericbop at 3:52 PM on May 10

So, I'm a professional organizer, and in these situations, I point out that there are two possibilities. Either your information was thrown out and you'll never access it and this is an expensive lesson, or that sticky note is somewhere in your house, probably in the room where the hard drive lives. In the first case, there's nothing you can do (unless someone else comes up with Terminator 2 magic).

In the second, you literally need to process every square inch of your space. (I'd say when I'm working with clients and this comes up, assuming there are no tiny humans or cats, we find the information 70% of the time.) Can you approach this in a search-and-rescue grid, picking up each thing, looking in each file folder, turning every page, taking everything out of one drawer at a time?

The fact that you said you TAPED a sticky note to the drive is telling. Has the drive been on your desk the whole time? In a drawer? On a shelf. If the drive parted ways with the sticky note AND the tape, the highest non-thrown-out solution is that it's close to where the drive has been sitting for the past two years.

But it seems like a 6-word recovery passphrase would be something you'd have picked because of familiarity/memorability. For me, if it were 5 words, it would be like "have fun storming the castle." Can you go through all your favorite movie quotes? "take the gun, leave the cannoli" maybe? What was your senior quote in high school? Or did you let your son help you and maybe it's a thing he says (or said often two years ago)?
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 4:08 PM on May 10 [11 favorites]

If the screen pad isn't randomized there are lots of mouse macro programs that will do this. I don't have a specific suggestion but that is the term to look for.
posted by Mitheral at 5:13 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]

I'd be worried that if you fail the passcode too many times, the wallet will lock and you'll be SOL. It's definitely worth trying to find the sticky note if you can.
posted by Alensin at 5:16 PM on May 10 [1 favorite]

The phrase is, "Twenty bucks same as in town"

If this is truly lost and my son did not know about it being lost, I would make this an even more expensive lesson and give him an amount equal to what you invested in the coin and tell him it is his cut from his idea. You can tell him the truth in about 10 years. He will learn that you trusted him enough to buy and also that you are the type of person to share the wealth so to speak.

If he knows access is lost, then incentivize him to find the note as per The Wrong Kind of Cheese above. Have him scour, top to bottom the entire room then house. Pay him half of whatever you can sell them for if he finds it.

I would also check any means of communication such as text and email made within a week of your buying the coin. Maybe you sent your self an email or several to break it up with the phrase or passcode?

Maybe the phrase is, "My kid is a friggin genius"?
posted by AugustWest at 7:05 PM on May 10

A lot depends on how often you move or rearrange stuff in the space surrounding the hard drive. Think about your habits. Are you the type to absentmindedly put a loose sticky note into a book? Stick it onto a pile of papers? Stick it on the fridge? Are you the type who has eddies of loose stuff swirling about, that might yield the sticky note? Most importantly, are you the type to absentmindedly save important pieces of paper, or to absentmindedly go "oh, loose bit of paper" and toss it?

I ask because oftentimes when I am looking for a missing object, paper, what have you, instead of tearing the house apart, I stand in the space and ask my subconscious, as it were, where I most likely would have put it. This is surprisingly effective, and saves tearing through the same drawer 20 times, when if you sit with the question for a bit, you might realize, for example, that you'd be much more likely to put it on a shelf instead. And find it there, accordingly. Do not do the laborious work of attempting to "manually" figure out where you last saw it, that is, retracing steps, etc. IME, that only causes frustration. Just ask yourself what you most likely would have done with it, in a calm, meditative manner.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 1:27 AM on May 11

Typically you do not get to choose the recovery phrase; it is a human-readable representation of the encryption seed used to generate all of the other keys (each n bits of the seed is looked up in a fixed dictionary to convert it to words). So mnemonic tricks to try and remember what phrase *you picked* are most likely a dead end; you need to find/remember *what it told you* to use. Without that there is likely no way of recovering the account keys.
posted by CyberSlug Labs at 9:59 AM on May 11

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