Phil Dougherty started their most recent operation on Reddit, helping a user find their password to a lost Ethereum wallet. A post from another user was asking for a large password list from a combination of possible partial passwords. Phil found the first user’s Ethereum password and other user’s passwords as well. Dougherty talks more about his set-up here.
His research into how people play educational games probably helps him with this side business. He starts off by asking what the user knows about the password, then what the user’s password habits are. Do they user numbers at the end often? Do their passwords start with a capital letter? From here he inputs the parameters into his program and uses Hashcat to guess the password. Many times, he finds the password, and the user pays Dougherty.
While it may be tempting to use this service if you lost your password and can’t recover it, using this service and anything like it gives out the user’s personal passwords habits. If the wrong person gets this information, then they could compromise all your accounts including your banking with ease. Sending any password information to anyone but the password field puts you in much more danger of someone reading the password in transit. For this reason, we can’t recommend using this service from anyone even if they have a good track record. Using a password manager helps prevent this type of problem but requires that you install it beforehand. If you must use a service like this, change all your passwords created from a password manager and use a password manager.