Researchers show up deniable file system crypto leaks
Deny deny denied
Crytography researchers have demonstrated weaknesses in encryption technology used to create so-called deniable file systems (DFS).
On-the-fly cryptography packages such as TruCrypt allow the creation of a hidden, encrypted volume (containing files and directories) on a hard disk. Users typically create Alice, a standard encrypted file system on a laptop, protected by a password. A second (deniable) file system can be created inside this encrypted volume, with access controlled by a second password.
However, Windows Vista Microsoft Word and Google Desktop all compromise the deniability of a TrueCrypt DFS steganography, according to a team including crypto guru Bruce Schneier and researchers from the University of Washington.
The problem is that applications such as Word or Google Desktop leak information outside of the deniable volume - for example, in lists of recently changed documents or snapshots captured by Google Desktop, providing the "enhanced search" option is enabled. Potentially worse still, Word auto-saves the contents of encrypted files as plain text to open portions of a hard disk. Although the research was carried out using TrueCrypt version 5.1a, the issue could apply to other non-full disk encryption software.
"Our results suggest any DFS will not only have to encrypt and hide data — as file systems like TrueCrypt do — but must also erase any traces of that data left by the operating system through normal operation," the researchers conclude.
The DFS approach is gaining increased attention as a means to hide sensitive information from laptop border searches, prompting the interest of the researchers, who suggest approaches for improving the technology. Even if these suggested changes are made, crypto boffins caution against blind trust in the effectiveness of such systems.
TrueCrypt version 6, released at the start of July, introduces new features such as the ability to create deniable operating systems which were beyond the scope of study.
Schneier, CTO of BT Counterpane, told Dark Reading that although this version will "definitely close some of the leakages, but it's unlikely that it closed all of them".
The team's research paper, Defeating Encrypted and Deniable File Systems: TrueCrypt v5.1a and the Case of the Tattling OS and Applications, is due to be presented at the USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Security (HotSec 2008) conference in San Jose at end of this month. ®
We "Discovered" this known issue nearly 5 years ago when we were looking at using an encrypted volume to save data. Hardly news
re Peter @ 15:57
Hello Peter, Mr RK05 here again.
As there is probably little reliable evidence to support your claims, it's hard to refute them, so I provided information which sensible people with at least some limited knowledge of the subject can use to calibrate their bullshitometers.
My bullshitometer (as a graduate physicist with a fair bit of post-graduation knowledge of electronics and data storage technology and indeed signal processing) says that your quoted variation in the "SNR" from a modern hard disk read head provides little or no meaningful information (let alone **evidence**) on whether data on a disk has been overwritten or not, though I can see circumstances in which gullible or otherwise motivated people might like to believe in that possibility, and in particular where certain organisations might like that belief to be widespread.
Even if there were some value in knowing whether a particular sector has been overwritten, what **evidence** does it provide? It might show, among other things, that the disk has previously been defragmented, or previously restored from backup, or a variety of other things unrelated to the presence or absence of (allegedly-)deniable file systems.
You are of course welcome to provide definitive references to show me wrong, and if necessary I'm happy to stand corrected; we're all here to learn aren't we.
Over to you.
How is m-o-o-t coming on? Did it achieve the desired result of torpedoing the RIP Act, or was it a distraction from the real *political* issues, issues which are still live today?
Martians, Markov chains and the Dissociated Press
From a wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociated_press
"A hackish idle pastime is to apply letter-based Dissociated Press to a random body of text in hopes of finding an interesting new word. (In the preceding example, ‘window sysIWYG’ and ‘informash’ show some promise.)"
Therefore, I submit that all of Amanfrommars' posts are informash.