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ElcomSoft Tool Cracks BitLocker, PGP, TrueCrypt In Real-Time

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:53PM (#42350845)

    Yeah, this is really just exploiting retarded key control. The encryption standards themselves are still secure

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:54PM (#42350883)

    It reads the encryption key from memory.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:55PM (#42350889)

    It requires a memory dump of the system where the keys are used. Bad submitter. Is anyone filtering the submissions? This is starting to look like reddit.

  • Not (Score:5, Informative)

    by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:56PM (#42350901)

    So, how does it work? Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor acquires the necessary decryption keys by analyzing memory dumps and/or hibernation files obtained from the target PC. You’ll thus need to get a memory dump from a running PC (locked or unlocked) with encrypted volumes mounted, via a standard forensic product or via a FireWire attack. Alternatively, decryption keys can also be derived from hibernation files if a target PC is turned off.

    That's not really cracking. It's more like looking under the keyboard for sticky-notes.

  • by RatRagout (756522) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:58PM (#42350935)
    They are simply extracting the encryption keys from the memory of a running computer using DMA and firewire. @breaknenter has been doing this with inception and some scripts for years.
  • by RatRagout (756522) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @02:59PM (#42350963)
    Link to inception: http://www.breaknenter.org/projects/inception/ [breaknenter.org]
  • Encrypted swap? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:00PM (#42350979)

    I don't use windows, but on other OSs, the swap where "hibernation" data goes, is encrypted to avoid such trivial exploits.

    As for the firewire attack, that was first developed on Linux, and immediately prevented on Linux. On Windows, it has been available since XP days, and MS notified of the issue back then. So, no excuse it is still trivial to unlock, disk dump, mem dump a windows box through the DMA firewire hack, now 3 major versions on since this attack was well known.

  • No. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:07PM (#42351095)

    This tool IS NOT capable of "cracking" disks encrypted by these methods. It is capable of locating the keys, should you be able to get a memory dump of the running system or obtain hibernation files, and decrypting the disks using the keys. In short, if you have something to hide, do not use hibernate and always power off your machine when you are not actively using it.

  • by interiot (50685) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:09PM (#42351137) Homepage
    This tool extracts the keys from RAM dumps. There are free tools [forensicswiki.org] that do this too, of course.

    But isn't it difficult to get a RAM dump, you say? Not really:

    • Hibernating a computer writes this data to disk. Starting in Windows 8, "shutdown" actually writes some hibernate data by default.
    • VMs also have their own suspend functionality that does a RAM dump, as well as non-SAN VM migration.
    • Firewire ports actually allow devices to scan RAM of the machine they're connected to. [breaknenter.org]
    • Obviously, if you have access to a live machine, you can get the keys directly from RAM.
  • Re:Misleading title (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:47PM (#42351671)

    If they were able to _crack_ in real time, then they'd have just solved P = NP.

    Neither AES nor Public Key Crypto (atleast as far as I'm aware) has ever been shown to be polynomial-time reducible to an NP-Complete problem..

    So your claim is not tue...

  • by kagaku (774787) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:51PM (#42351695)

    This works with anything that provides DMA access - including FireWire, ExpressPort, PCMCIA, Thunderbolt, etc..

  • by _Shad0w_ (127912) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @03:53PM (#42351717)

    You can register an interest in knowing about power events by calling RegisterPowerSettingNotification(); your application then gets sent the WM_POWERBROADCAST message when the the power setting changes, that includes suspending the system (PBT_APMSUSPEND). You get about two seconds to actually do something with this information.

  • by Tawnos (1030370) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:01PM (#42351807)

    Freeze the ram, remove, reinsert into a device to dump the RAM's contents. It's been done before: http://zedomax.com/blog/2008/09/29/memory-hack-how-to-hack-encryption-keys-by-freezing-memory/ [zedomax.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:05PM (#42351849)

    In Windows the hibernation file is never deleted (I assume to keep enough HDD space reserved). In fact, many systems automatically hibernate after they've been suspended for a certain period of time. I don't know how Linux hibernation works. You might have the key sitting in the hibernation file from weeks ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:15PM (#42351977)

    hiberfil.sys is not scrubbed or deleted after resuming from hibernation, therefore it will persist after a subsequent shutdown. So if the hibernation feature was used while an encrypted filesystem was mounted, the keys will remain in it.

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:39PM (#42352217)

    So, there is no difference between "off" and "hibernating."

    The difference is the lack of a resume file. The computer is not hibernating if this file is missing or was never written because the power was switched off without taking the time to hibernate the computer.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:53PM (#42352331)
    Others have mentioned that it does not attack the actual encryption, but they did not summarize what it does do:

    This only works if the encrypted item (drive or file) is in a mounted state at the time of "attack". And that applies if it is in a mounted state when the machine goes into hibernation. It gathers the encryption key from memory (or resume file if hibernating), it does not even try to "break" the encryption.

    Still, it must be said that this is a clever approach, and could be a nice tool in some (very limited) circumstances.
  • by Rakishi (759894) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @04:54PM (#42352353)

    "A while" is generally limited to a few seconds:

    No it's not, regular RAM retains memory for up to a few minutes (sort of) with no refreshes at regular temperatures. Freeze the memory and it's a lot longer than that.

    http://zedomax.com/blog/2008/09/29/memory-hack-how-to-hack-encryption-keys-by-freezing-memory/ [zedomax.com]

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:02PM (#42352463)

    But if you are worried about this, you simply run after awakening from hybernation mode:
    POWERCFG -H OFF
    POWERCFG -H ON

    That turns off hibernation, which deletes hiberfil.sys then enables hibernation which will allow its recreation.

  • by threephaseboy (215589) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:11PM (#42352561) Homepage

    Recent MacOS blocks DMA from Firewire when the user is not logged in:
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5002 [apple.com] (search CVE-2011-3215)

  • by icebike (68054) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:15PM (#42352589)

    I am not confusing anything, you are.

    Hibernation is a choice you make every time you shut down your computer.
    Stop doing that.

    Just choose shutdown instead of hibernation.
    In fact you can disable hibernation all together, and simply use sleep for short trips to the bathroom, and actually shut the damn thing down when not using it.
    Security conscious people never hibernate a machine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:51PM (#42352937)
    That doesn't wipe the data, only frees the sectors.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @05:53PM (#42352959) Homepage

    Doesn't work with BitLocker and a TPM chip. The key is kept in protected memory on the chip and only authenticated code can use it. It was specifically designed to defeat attackers with full access to the contents of RAM, including rootkits and the like.

    Shame TrueCrypt doesn't support TPM as well.

  • by gmueckl (950314) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @06:46PM (#42353405)

    Hibernation in Linux uses a swap partition. So depending on the size and usage of the swap space the key may be overwritten almost instantly or sit in swap space for eternity.

  • by clovis (4684) * on Thursday December 20, 2012 @07:01PM (#42353555)

    I don't think that it is interesting that someone has figured a way to hack a running computer that they have physical access to.
    However, the hibernation file inspection hack had bothered me, or rather didn't bother me after I read the document.

    Check out http://www.truecrypt.org/docs/hibernation-file [truecrypt.org]

    from the link:
    Note: The issue described below does not affect you if the system partition or system drive is encrypted* (for more information, see the chapter System Encryption) and if the hibernation file is located on any of the partitions within the key scope of system encryption (which it typically is, by default), for example, on the partition where Windows is installed. When the computer hibernates, data are encrypted on the fly before they are written to the hibernation file.

    When a computer hibernates (or enters a power-saving mode), the content of its system memory is written to a so-called hibernation file on the hard drive. You can configure TrueCrypt (Settings > Preferences > Dismount all when: Entering power saving mode) to automatically dismount all mounted TrueCrypt volumes, erase their master keys stored in RAM, and cached passwords (stored in RAM), if there are any, before a computer hibernates (or enters a power-saving mode). However, keep in mind, that if you do not use system encryption (see the chapter System Encryption), TrueCrypt still cannot reliably prevent the contents of sensitive files opened in RAM from being saved unencrypted to a hibernation file. Note that when you open a file stored on a TrueCrypt volume, for example, in a text editor, then the content of the file is stored unencrypted in RAM (and it may remain unencrypted in RAM until the computer is turned off).

    Note that when Windows enters Sleep mode, it may be actually configured to enter so-called Hybrid Sleep mode, which involves hibernation. Also note that the operating system may be configured to hibernate or enter the Hybrid Sleep mode when you click or select "Shut down" (for more information, please see the documentation for your operating system).

    To prevent the issues described above, encrypt the system partition/drive (for information on how to do so, see the chapter System Encryption) and make sure that the hibernation file is located on one the partitions within the key scope of system encryption (which it typically is, by default), for example, on the partition where Windows is installed. When the computer hibernates, data will be encrypted on the fly before they are written to the hibernation file.

    Note: You may also want to consider creating a hidden operating system (for more information, see the section Hidden Operating System).

    Alternatively, if you cannot use system encryption, disable or prevent hibernation on your computer at least for each session during which you work with any sensitive data and during which you mount a TrueCrypt volume.

    * Disclaimer: As Windows XP and Windows 2003 do not provide any API for encryption of hibernation files, TrueCrypt has to modify undocumented components of Windows XP/2003 in order to allow users to encrypt hibernation files. Therefore, TrueCrypt cannot guarantee that Windows XP/2003 hibernation files will always be encrypted. In response to our public complaint regarding the missing API, Microsoft began providing a public API for encryption of hibernation files on Windows Vista and later versions of Windows (for more information, see the Version History, section TrueCrypt 5.1a). Since version 7.0, TrueCrypt has used this API and therefore has been able to safely encrypt hibernation files under Windows Vista and later versions of Windows. Therefore, if you use Windows XP/2003 and want the hibernation file to be safely encrypted, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to Windows Vista or later and to TrueCrypt 7.0 or later.

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