Feeds

Crypto attack unveils hidden backups

Hide and seek

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.