Feeds

Apple FileVault cracked in under an hour by forensics biz

Passware scratches Lion's belly, penetrates fruity disk

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.