Feeds

Apple FileVault cracked in under an hour by forensics biz

Passware scratches Lion's belly, penetrates fruity disk

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Apple's FileVault disk encryption can be circumvented in less than an hour, according to a computer forensics firm.

Passware claims the latest version of its toolkit (Passware Kit Forensic v11.3) can also unlock volumes encrypted using TrueCrypt, a disk encryption software that ranks alongside PGP as the choice of privacy-conscious computer users, human rights activists and others.

Technology from Passware is reportedly capable of capturing the content of a Mac machine's memory, via Firewire interfaces, before extracting encryption keys. Passware's software previously included the ability to extract Mac passwords as well as the capability to bypass the BitLocker encryption built into later versions of Windows.

Cracking Mac OS X Lion's FileVault encryption using the technology requires physical access to a targeted machine, and the presence of a working FireWire port. As such, it's not much use for remote hack attacks. The encryption keys of password-protected machines cannot be extracted unless machines are turned on.

If an attacker can get hold of a machine that's already switched on or where no password protection is applied then the full key extraction process "takes no more than 40 minutes - regardless of the length or complexity of the password," Passware claims.

Passware Kit Forensic v11.3 is capable of recovering hashed passwords with rainbow tables and extracting passwords from encrypted Mac keychain files as well as building a password list for its dictionary attack (based on the words detected in a computer memory). It can also recover Mac login passwords but only if a machine is actually turned on at the time it is seized.

"Full disk encryption is becoming a major obstacle for digital investigations," said Dmitry Sumin, Passware president, in a statement (PDF). "The latest version of Passware Kit Forensic offers multiple approaches to overcoming this problem, such as live memory analysis and extraction of encryption keys for BitLocker, TrueCrypt, and FileVault. This means forensic experts are better armed to approach investigative challenges with an effective and efficient solution that significantly reduces decryption time and thus allows investigators to focus on data analysis."

Passware is marketing its technology to law enforcement agencies and governments. Well-heeled blackhats prepared to fork out $1,000 would equally be able to get access to the software, which refines existing password-extraction techniques rather than creating a new class of exploit.

More commentary on the hack can be found in a post on Sophos's Naked Security blog here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.