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The Hacker News — Cyber Security and Hacking News Website: Full Disk Encryption

Flaws in Popular Self-Encrypting SSDs Let Attackers Decrypt Data

Flaws in Popular Self-Encrypting SSDs Let Attackers Decrypt Data

November 06, 2018Swati Khandelwal
We all have something to hide, something to protect. But if you are also relying on self-encrypting drives for that, then you should read this news carefully. Security researchers have discovered multiple critical vulnerabilities in some of the popular self-encrypting solid state drives (SSD) that could allow an attacker to decrypt disk encryption and recover protected data without knowing the password for the disk. The researchers—Carlo Meijer and Bernard van Gastel—at Radboud University in the Netherlands reverse engineered the firmware several SSDs that offer hardware full-disk encryption to identify several issues and detailed their findings in a new paper ( PDF ) published Monday. "The analysis uncovers a pattern of critical issues across vendors. For multiple models, it is possible to bypass the encryption entirely, allowing for a complete recovery of the data without any knowledge of passwords or keys," the researchers say. The duo successfully tested their
New Cold Boot Attack Unlocks Disk Encryption On Nearly All Modern PCs

New Cold Boot Attack Unlocks Disk Encryption On Nearly All Modern PCs

September 13, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers have revealed a new attack to steal passwords, encryption keys and other sensitive information stored on most modern computers, even those with full disk encryption. The attack is a new variation of a traditional Cold Boot Attack , which is around since 2008 and lets attackers steal information that briefly remains in the memory (RAM) after the computer is shut down. However, to make the cold boot attacks less effective, most modern computers come bundled with a safeguard, created by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), that overwrites the contents of the RAM when the power on the device is restored, preventing the data from being read. Now, researchers from Finnish cyber-security firm F-Secure figured out a new way to disable this overwrite security measure by physically manipulating the computer's firmware, potentially allowing attackers to recover sensitive data stored on the computer after a cold reboot in a matter of few minutes. "Cold boot
Apple macOS Bug Reveals Cache of Sensitive Data from Encrypted Drives

Apple macOS Bug Reveals Cache of Sensitive Data from Encrypted Drives

June 18, 2018Swati Khandelwal
Security researchers are warning of almost a decade old issue with one of the Apple's macOS feature which was designed for users' convenience but is potentially exposing the contents of files stored on password-protected encrypted drives. Earlier this month, security researcher Wojciech Regula from SecuRing published a blog post , about the "Quick Look" feature in macOS that helps users preview photos, documents files, or a folder without opening them. Regula explained that Quick Look feature generates thumbnails for each file/folder, giving users a convenient way to evaluate files before they open them. However, these cached thumbnails are stored on the computer's non-encrypted hard drive, at a known and unprotected location, even if those files/folders belong to an encrypted container, eventually revealing some of the content stored on encrypted drives. Patrick Wardle, chief research officer at Digital Security, equally shared the concern, saying tha
Apple macOS Bug Reveals Passwords for APFS Encrypted Volumes in Plaintext

Apple macOS Bug Reveals Passwords for APFS Encrypted Volumes in Plaintext

March 29, 2018Swati Khandelwal
A severe programming bug has been found in APFS file system for macOS High Sierra operating system that exposes passwords of encrypted external drives in plain text. Introduced two years ago, APFS ( Apple File System ) is an optimized file system for flash and SSD-based storage solutions running MacOS, iOS, tvOS or WatchOS, and promises strong encryption and better performance. Discovered by forensic analyst Sarah Edwards, the bug leaves encryption password for a newly created APFS volume (e.g., encrypting USB drive using Disk Utility) in the unified logs in plaintext, as well as while encrypting previously created but unencrypted volumes. "Why is this a big deal? Well, passwords stored in plaintext can be discovered by anyone with unauthorized access to your machine, and malware can collect log files as well and send them off to someone with malicious intent," Edwards said. The password for an encrypted APFS volume can easily be retrieved by running following sim
How to Hack Apple Mac Encryption Password in Just 30 Seconds

How to Hack Apple Mac Encryption Password in Just 30 Seconds

December 16, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Macintosh computers are often considered to be safer than those running Windows operating system, but a recently discovered attack technique proves it all wrong. All an attacker needs is a $300 device to seize full control of your Mac or MacBook. Swedish hacker and penetration tester Ulf Frisk has developed a new device that can steal the password from virtually any Mac laptop while it is sleeping or even locked in just 30 seconds, allowing hackers to unlock any Mac computer and even decrypt the files on its hard drive. So, next time when you leave your Apple's laptop unattended, be sure to shut it down completely rather than just putting the system in sleep mode or locked. Here's How an Attacker can steal your Mac FileVault2 Password The researcher devised this technique by exploiting two designing flaws he discovered last July in Apple's FileVault2 full-disk encryption software. The first issue is that the Mac system does not protect itself against Direc
Press Shift + F10 during Windows 10 Upgrade to Launch Root CLI & bypass BitLocker

Press Shift + F10 during Windows 10 Upgrade to Launch Root CLI & bypass BitLocker

November 30, 2016Swati Khandelwal
If your computer's security relies on Windows BitLocker Hard Drive Encryption software, then Beware! Because anyone with physical access to your PC can still access your files within few seconds. All an attacker need to do is hold SHIFT+F10 during Windows 10 update procedure. Security researcher Sami Laiho discovered this simple method of bypassing BitLocker, wherein an attacker can open a command-line interface with System privileges just by holding SHIFT+F10 while a Windows 10 PC is installing a new OS build. The command-line interface (CLI) then grants the attacker full access to the computer's hard drive, even when the victim has enabled BitLocker disk encryption feature. Laiho explains that during the installation of a new build (Windows 10 upgrade), the operating system disables BitLocker while the Windows PE installs a new image of the main Windows 10 OS. "The installation [Windows 10 upgrade] of a new build is done by reimaging the machine and the im
VeraCrypt Audit Reveals Critical Security Flaws — Update Now

VeraCrypt Audit Reveals Critical Security Flaws — Update Now

October 18, 2016Mohit Kumar
After TrueCrypt mysteriously discontinued its service, VeraCrypt became the most popular open source disk encryption software used by activists, journalists, as well as privacy conscious people. First of all, there is no such thing as a perfect, bug-free software. Even the most rigorously tested software, like the ones that operate SCADA Systems, medical devices, and aviation software, have flaws. Vulnerabilities are an unfortunate reality for every software product, but there is always space for improvements. Due to the enormous popularity of VeraCrypt, security researchers from the OSTIF (The Open Source Technology Improvement Fund) agreed to audit VeraCrypt independently and hired researchers from QuarksLab in August to lead the audit. And it seems like VeraCrypt is not exactly flawless either. Now after one month of the audit, researchers have discovered a number of security issues, including 8 critical, 3 medium, and 15 low-severity vulnerabilities in the popular
Someone is Spying on Researchers Behind VeraCrypt Security Audit

Someone is Spying on Researchers Behind VeraCrypt Security Audit

August 16, 2016Mohit Kumar
After TrueCrypt mysteriously discontinued itself, VeraCrypt became the most popular open source disk encryption software used by activists, journalists, and privacy conscious people. Due to the huge popularity of VeraCrypt, security researchers from the OSTIF ( The Open Source Technology Improvement Fund ) announced at the beginning of this month that it had agreed to audit VeraCrypt independently. Using funds donated by DuckDuckGo and VikingVPN, the OSTIC hired vulnerability researchers from QuarksLab to lead the audit, which would look for zero-day vulnerabilities and other security holes in VeraCrypt's code. Now, the most troubling part comes here: The OSTIF announced Saturday that its confidential PGP-encrypted communications with QuarkLabs about the security audit of VeraCrypt were mysteriously intercepted. "We have now had a total of four email messages disappear without a trace, stemming from multiple independent senders." the OSTIF said . "Not
How to Crack Android Full Disk Encryption on Qualcomm Devices

How to Crack Android Full Disk Encryption on Qualcomm Devices

July 01, 2016Mohit Kumar
The heated battle between Apple and the FBI provoked a lot of talk about Encryption – the technology that has been used to keep all your bits and bytes as safe as possible. We can not say a lot about Apple's users, but Android users are at severe risk when it comes to encryption of their personal and sensitive data. Android's full-disk encryption can be cracked much more easily than expected with brute force attack and some patience, affecting potentially hundreds of millions of mobile devices. And the worst part: There may not be a full fix available for current Android handsets in the market. Google started implementing Full Disk Encryption on Android by default with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Full disk encryption (FDE) can prevent both hackers and even powerful law enforcement agencies from gaining unauthorized access to device's data. Android's disk encryption, in short, is the process of encoding all user's data on an Android device before ever wri
Apple announces Encryption-focused New File System for macOS Sierra

Apple announces Encryption-focused New File System for macOS Sierra

June 14, 2016Mohit Kumar
Apple announced one huge change at WWDC 2016: The company is replacing the HFS+ file system on MacOS, iOS, tvOS and WatchOS with a new file system. The company has introduced its brand new file system called The Apple File System — or APFS for short — for iOS, OS X, tvOS, and WatchOS, making security its centerpiece. " The Apple File System (APFS) is the next-generation file system designed to scale from an Apple Watch to a Mac Pro. APFS is optimized for Flash/SSD storage, and engineered with encryption as a primary feature, " according to an entry in the WWDC 2016 schedule. Yes, the Apple File System is optimized for Flash and SSD-based storage solutions that are used in iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, AppleTV set-top boxes, and others Apple gadgets. APFS supports "nearly" all features the HFS+ file system provides while offering improvements over the previous system in the process. Apple describes APFS as a modern file system that includes " strong enc
Apple hires Encryption Expert to Beef Up Security on its Devices

Apple hires Encryption Expert to Beef Up Security on its Devices

May 25, 2016Mohit Kumar
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have waged legal war on encryption and privacy technologies. You may have heard many news stories about the legal battle between Apple and the FBI over unlocking an iPhone that belonged to the San Bernardino shooter. However, that was just one battle in a much larger fight. Now, in an effort to make its iPhone surveillance-and-hack proof, Apple has rehired security expert and cryptographer Jon Callas , who co-founded the widely-used email encryption software PGP and the secure-messaging system Silent Circle that sells the Blackphone. This is not Apple’s first effort over its iPhone security . Just a few months back, the company hired Frederic Jacobs , one of the key developers of Signal — World's most secure, open source and encrypted messaging app . Now Apple has rehired Callas, who has previously worked for Apple twice, first from 1995 to 1997 and then from 2009 to 2011. During his second joining, Callas designed a ful
Subgraph OS — Secure Linux Operating System for Non-Technical Users

Subgraph OS — Secure Linux Operating System for Non-Technical Users

March 04, 2016Swati Khandelwal
Information security and privacy are consistently hot topics after Edward Snowden revelations of NSA's global surveillance that brought the world's attention towards data protection and encryption as never before. Moreover, just days after Windows 10 's successful launch last summer, we saw various default settings in the Microsoft's newest OS that compromise users' privacy , making a large number of geeks, as well as regular users, migrate to Linux. However, the problem is that majority of users are not friendly to the Linux environment. They don't know how to configure their machine with right privacy and security settings, which makes them still open to hacking and surveillance. However, this gaping hole can be filled with a  Debian-based  Security-focused Linux operating system called Subgraph OS: A key solution to your Privacy Fear. Subgraph OS is a feather weighted Linux flavor that aims to combat hacking attacks easier, even on fai
Microsoft Keeps Backup of Your Encryption Key on its Server — Here's How to Delete it

Microsoft Keeps Backup of Your Encryption Key on its Server — Here's How to Delete it

December 29, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Have you recently purchased a Windows computer? Congratulations! As your new Windows computer has inbuilt disk encryption feature that is turned on by default in order to protect your data in case your device is lost or stolen. Moreover, In case you lost your encryption keys then don't worry, Microsoft has a copy of your Recovery Key. But Wait! If Microsoft already has your Disk Encryption Keys then what’s the use of using disk encryption feature? Doesn't Encryption mean Only you can unlock your disk ? Microsoft Probably Holds your Encryption Keys Since the launch of Windows 8.1, Microsoft is offering disk encryption as a built-in feature for Windows laptops, Windows phones and other devices. However, there is a little-known fact, highlighted by The Intercept, that if you have logged into Windows 10 using your Microsoft account, your system had automatically uploaded a copy of your recovery key to Microsoft’s servers secretly, and you can't pre
Google Makes Full-Disk Encryption Mandatory for New Android 6.0 Devices

Google Makes Full-Disk Encryption Mandatory for New Android 6.0 Devices

October 20, 2015Swati Khandelwal
Yes, Google wants you to keep your bits and bytes as safe as possible through encryption. With the launch of Android 5.0 Lollipop last year, Google wanted to make full disk Encryption mandatory , but unfortunately, the idea did not go too well. However, Google thinks the idea will go right this time, and it will try again to require full-disk encryption by default for devices that release with the newest Android 6.0 Marshmallow and higher versions. Google has published the new version of the Android Compatibility Definition Document ( PDF ), mandating Android encryption with a couple of exceptions in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The document reads: "For device implementations supporting full-disk encryption and with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) crypto performance above 50MiB/sec, the full-disk encryption MUST be enabled by default at the time the user has completed the out-of-box setup experience." New smartphones and tablets that ship with Androi
TrueCrypt Encryption Software Has Two Critical Flaws: It's time to Move On

TrueCrypt Encryption Software Has Two Critical Flaws: It's time to Move On

October 01, 2015Khyati Jain
If you are among thousands of privacy-conscious people who are still using ‘ no longer available ’ TrueCrypt Encryption Software , then you need to pay attention. Two critical security vulnerabilities have been discovered in the most famous encryption tool, TrueCrypt, that could expose the user’s data to hackers if exploited. TrueCrypt was audited earlier this by a team of Security researchers and found to be backdoor-free . James Forshaw , Security researcher with Google’s Project Zero — which looks for zero-day exploits — has found a pair of privilege elevation flaws in TrueCrypt package. Last year, TrueCrypt project was dropped after its mysterious developers had claimed the Windows disk-encryption software had ‘ unfixed security issues ’. TrueCrypt is a widely-used ‘ On-the-Fly ’ Open source Hard disk encryption program. Reportedly, TrueCrypt vulnerabilities would not directly allow an attacker to decrypt drive data. Instead, successful exploitation
TrueCrypt Security Audit Concludes No NSA Backdoor

TrueCrypt Security Audit Concludes No NSA Backdoor

April 03, 2015Swati Khandelwal
The Security audit of TrueCrypt disk-encryption software has been completed, with no evidence of any critical design vulnerabilities or deliberate backdoors in its code. TrueCrypt -- one of the world's most-used open source file encryption software used by Millions of privacy and security enthusiasts -- is being audited from past two years by a team of security researchers to assess if it could be easily exploited and cracked. Hopefully, it has cleared the second phase of the audit. TrueCrypt is a free, open-source and cross-platform encryption program available for Windows, OSX and Linux that can be used to encrypt individual folders or encrypt entire hard drive partitions including the system partition. NO NSA BACKDOORS Security Auditors and Cryptography Experts at NCC took an initiative to perform a public information security audit of TrueCrypt in response to the concerns that National Security Agency (NSA) may have tampered with it, according to a leaked cl
FBI Not Happy With Apple & Google's Encryption Policy

FBI Not Happy With Apple & Google's Encryption Policy

September 26, 2014Swati Khandelwal
Users might have praised the technology companies for efforts to encrypt their latest devices that would prevent law enforcement agencies’ hands on users’ private data, but the FBI is not at all happy with Apple and Google right now. The Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey , said Thursday he was " very concerned " over Apple and Google using stronger or full encryption in their Smartphones and Tablets that makes it impossible for law enforcement to collar criminals. According to Comey, the Silicon Valley tech giants are "marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law." " There will come a day – well it comes every day in this business – when it will matter a great, great deal to the lives of people of all kinds that we be able to with judicial authorization gain access to a kidnapper's or a terrorist or a criminal's device, " Comey told reporters . " I just want to make sure we
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