Xmarks or LastPass deleted my passwords?

Slightly weird thing happened this morning. When I started work, the Xmarks plugin for Firefox popped up saying something like “we’ve noticed you’ve recently cleared your passwords, do you want to disable password syncing?”

Naturally I said yes: if something had deleted my passwords, I’d want to recover them from the Xmarks server.

However when I went to see about recovering my passwords all I could see was a message about using LastPass (the cloud password management service which was recently possibly hacked) to manage my passwords.

My Firefox password list was empty, and I have no way of recovering it that I can see.

Fortunately it’s not that big a deal, as I’ve got all my important passwords stored in PassPack, but it’s still a little disconcerting. I definitely did not clear my password list, so it’s either a major Firefox glitch, or Xmarks did something weird when they were shifting to recommending LastPass for password management. I’m assuming the latter. I generally saved passwords in the browser for non-critical websites, and there will be a few older sites where I’ve lost my password on – so they’ll need a password recovery.

However, there was a time when I used to have a few different password levels, using a simple password for multiple sites that weren’t a security risk. This was the password which I used on Lifehacker (a site included in the recent Gawker Media hacking), and I planned to go through my Firefox password list and visit any sites that used that password and update them (even though they’re non-essential).

I’ve submitted a support ticket with Xmarks and will update here when I hear back from them.

Update: 18th May 2011

I had a variety of discussions with the Xmarks team who were very prompt in their responses. Initial suggestions didn’t work, but I was able to, at their suggestion, login to my.xmarks.com and go through a password restore (they keep an extensive log of old passwords) et viola, my passwords were back to normal!