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
Oldest First  |  Newest 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
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7407
Published: 2014-10-22
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in the MRBS module for Drupal allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of unspecified victims via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3675
Published: 2014-10-22
Shim allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read) via a crafted DHCPv6 packet.

CVE-2014-3676
Published: 2014-10-22
Heap-based buffer overflow in Shim allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted IPv6 address, related to the "tftp:// DHCPv6 boot option."

CVE-2014-3677
Published: 2014-10-22
Unspecified vulnerability in Shim might allow attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted MOK list, which triggers memory corruption.

CVE-2014-3828
Published: 2014-10-22
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in Centreon 2.5.1 and Centreon Enterprise Server 2.2 allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via (1) the index_id parameter to views/graphs/common/makeXML_ListMetrics.php, (2) the sid parameter to views/graphs/GetXmlTree.php, (3) the session_id...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.