Risk
12/20/2012
12:40 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Forensic Tool Cracks BitLocker, PGP, TrueCrypt Containers

ElcomSoft's Forensic Disk Decryptor uses PC memory dumps to crack passwords associated with BitLocker, PGP and TrueCrypt archives.

Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts
Who Is Hacking U.S. Banks? 8 Facts
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
A new software tool, Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor, promises to decrypt encryption containers created using BitLocker, PGP and TrueCrypt.

The software from ElcomSoft -- a Russian provider of encryption-cracking software and other digital forensic tools -- accomplishes the feat not by cracking the containers themselves, but rather by exploiting the fact that once the containers are accessed, the decryption passwords get stored in computer memory. The software is designed to be used by digital forensic investigators -- for example, when investigating suspected insider theft incidents.

"BitLocker, PGP and TrueCrypt set [an] industry standard in the area of whole-disk and partition encryption," said ElcomSoft CEO Vladimir Katalov in a blog post. "All three tools provide strong, reliable protection, and offer a perfect implementation of strong crypto." As a result, he said that if a user of those tools picks a long, complex password, cracking the encryption container outright would likely be impossible.

[ Forensics software can be a crucial tool in busting the bad guys. Read Cracking Bin Laden's Hard Drives. ]

One encryption container Achilles heel, however, happens when the containers get accessed on a computer. "No one likes typing their long, complex passwords every time they need to read or write a file," said Katalov. "As a result, keys used to encrypt and decrypt data that's being written or read from protected volumes are kept readily accessible in the computer's operating memory. Obviously, what's kept readily accessible can be retrieved near instantly by a third-party tool."

What's needed first, however, is a memory dump, which can be grabbed either using forensic tools, or via a Firewire attack, even if a computer is in hibernation or sleep mode. The Elcomsoft tool then attempts to extract the encryption keys from that dump. "The new product includes algorithms allowing us to analyze dumps of computers' volatile memory, locating areas that contain the decryption keys," Katalov said. "Sometimes the keys are discovered by analyzing byte sequences, and sometimes by examining crypto containers' internal structures. When searching for PGP keys, the user can significantly speed up the process if the exact encryption algorithm is known."

But there's one big caveat when grabbing the needed memory dumps: The targeted encryption containers must be mounted to the computer. "It's important that encrypted volumes are mounted at the time a memory dump is obtained or the PC goes to sleep; otherwise, the decryption keys are destroyed and the content of encrypted volumes cannot be decrypted without knowing the original plain-text password," said Katalov.

The three encryption containers targeted by the software comprise some of the most-used file encryption tools on the market. Microsoft's BitLocker To Go, for example, allows data on removable devices to be encrypted and is included with some premium versions of Windows 7 and Vista, as well as Windows 8.

TrueCrypt, meanwhile, is well-regarded open source data encryption software that currently runs on Windows 7, Vista and XP, as well as Mac OS X and Linux systems. Finally, PGP -- which stands for Pretty Good Privacy -- is available from Symantec, which acquired PGP in 2010.

Elcomsoft also has added plug-ins for TrueCrypt and BitLocker To Go to its Distributed Password Recovery software, which allows users to subject encryption containers to a variety of brute-force attack techniques, as well as a dictionary, password mask and permutation attacks.

Recent breaches have tarnished digital certificates, the Web security technology. The new, all-digital Digital Certificates issue of Dark Reading gives five reasons to keep it going. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SecurasiV554
50%
50%
SecurasiV554,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/3/2013 | 11:19:34 AM
re: Forensic Tool Cracks BitLocker, PGP, TrueCrypt Containers
Try SECURASI (www.securasi.com) which is a far better ( secure , easier to use) to protect your sensitive files on your computers and online. It is a digital safe that doesn't store it's encryption keys in memory unlike these products mentioned in the article. Any questions, please write to us info@securasi.com
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0103
Published: 2014-07-29
WebAccess in Zarafa before 7.1.10 and WebApp before 1.6 stores credentials in cleartext, which allows local Apache users to obtain sensitive information by reading the PHP session files.

CVE-2014-0475
Published: 2014-07-29
Multiple directory traversal vulnerabilities in GNU C Library (aka glibc or libc6) before 2.20 allow context-dependent attackers to bypass ForceCommand restrictions and possibly have other unspecified impact via a .. (dot dot) in a (1) LC_*, (2) LANG, or other locale environment variable.

CVE-2014-0889
Published: 2014-07-29
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in IBM Atlas Suite (aka Atlas Policy Suite), as used in Atlas eDiscovery Process Management through 6.0.3, Disposal and Governance Management for IT through 6.0.3, and Global Retention Policy and Schedule Management through 6.0.3, allow remote atta...

CVE-2014-2226
Published: 2014-07-29
Ubiquiti UniFi Controller before 3.2.1 logs the administrative password hash in syslog messages, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to obtains sensitive information via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3020
Published: 2014-07-29
install.sh in the Embedded WebSphere Application Server (eWAS) 7.0 before FP33 in IBM Tivoli Integrated Portal (TIP) 2.1 and 2.2 sets world-writable permissions for the installRoot directory tree, which allows local users to gain privileges via a Trojan horse program.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio