Feeds

Crypto attack unveils hidden backups

Hide and seek

Boost IT visibility and business value

A German cryptographer has discovered a technique that discloses the presence of a hidden encrypted volume in a disc backup.

The sophisticated comparison-based technique doesn't allow the encrypted backup volumes to be read, but it does allow police or other interested parties to determine that it is there.

The approach, developed by Bernd Roellgen of PMC Ciphers, works with encryption packages that use symmetric encryption. This includes most on-the-fly encryption packages.

By comparing an encrypted backup image file with an older image, made using the same key, Roellgen discovered it was possible to unpick nuggets of information without breaking the encryption protocol itself or knowing the key.

The attack potentially reveals the presence of a second (hidden) encrypted volume in an encrypted backup. The safe-within-a-safe approach is used by people who want to bury sensitive information, so that it remains a secret even if they are obliged to hand over the keys of the first volume.

PMC Ciphers makes a disc encryption product, called TurboCrypt, which has been enhanced to withstand the attack by making sure each encrypted backup uses a different key - described as polymorphic encryption.

A demonstration of the attack from PMC Ciphers, puffing the benefits of its products, can be found here. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?