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TrueCrypt Has Been Potentially Compromised

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  • phoronix
    started a topic TrueCrypt Has Been Potentially Compromised

    TrueCrypt Has Been Potentially Compromised

    Phoronix: TrueCrypt Has Been Potentially Compromised

    The TrueCrypt open-source disk encryption software has been potentially compromised and users are now told to avoid the software...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTcwMzY

  • Luke
    replied
    A virus can't distribute hardware keyloggers

    Originally posted by TheBlackCat View Post
    Two words: flame virus. This is exactly what happened (although it is unclear whether it was the NSA or some other intelligence agency). The thing went undetected for at least 5 years because it was only infecting computers in a specific area. It was even able to exploit a hole in Microsoft security to distribute itself via windows update.
    That's another attack. A hardware keylogger cannot be distributed by software. Even a 3-d printer cannot make a computer chip, much less covertly install it an existing keyboard. One exception might be software sent to a factory that made keyboards, but in that case all the keyboards would be modfied and one or more would be found. Thus, the TAO interceptions of hardware in shipment and my advice to buy randomly on the spot with cash only.

    Malicious BIOS "updates" have been distributed by attack programs, but this involves having to first determine exactly what motherboard and chipset are to be attacked prior to the attack, as a failed BIOS flash that bricks the board makes the attack useless for surveillance. If this attack was easy, the NSA would not bother intercepting computers being shipped to state-level and equivalent opponents to install malicious BIOS code.

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  • TheBlackCat
    replied
    Originally posted by Luke View Post
    The NSA is also capable of thinking in this manner. Example: if they put keylogging chips into ALL keyboards, their "tailored operations division" or TAO would not need to intercept keyboards shipped by distributors to known enemies of the US regime to install their custom rf-enabled keyloggers, as they would already be present and waiting for remote activation. The disadvantage would be that some hardware hacker somewhere would find the chips and blow the whistle. The same is true for malicious NSA-installed BIOS code: it gets installed by TAO into machines being delivered to known or suspected enemies of the NSA's bosses. That way it takes a crack at the Guardian's reporters without getting caught by someone working on Coreboot reverse-engineering the original BIOS.
    Two words: flame virus. This is exactly what happened (although it is unclear whether it was the NSA or some other intelligence agency). The thing went undetected for at least 5 years because it was only infecting computers in a specific area. It was even able to exploit a hole in Microsoft security to distribute itself via windows update.

    Leave a comment:


  • Luke
    replied
    NSA saves "high value" exploits for "high value" targets

    Originally posted by rdnetto View Post
    There are solutions to this problem: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archiv...ring_trus.html
    Additionally, if you're worried about your CPU containing bugs, creating one out of individual gates has about the same difficulty (or less) as writing a compiler. (Admittedly, it will be about as powerful as a calculator, but you only need it for the compiler-verification process.) Individual gates are too simple to backdoor without obvious side-effects.


    The reason there's so much fuss over what the NSA has been doing is that a lot of it wasn't authorized by court order.
    Given the recent revelations that they've been bugging Cisco's hardware, I'd say it's perfectly reasonable to question if they've been targeting compilers.
    This link shows that by targetting broadly distributed compilers with open source they would risk being caught. GCC and anything else with open source and pre-existing binaries predating an attack by NSA would mean the attack could be proven to have taken place. Therefore, the more infected copies distributed, the higher the risk that some hacker will find the attack and force a rebuild of the entire compiler line from code predating the atttack.

    There is evidence that "high value" but detectable attacks by both NSA and the FBI are held back most of the time, reserved for high value targets. Think of it this way: If I were to release a compiler designed to put a keylogger known only to me in Cryptsetup with an eye towards cracking encrypted neo-Nazi websites, if I released it to everyone someone other than the Nazis might find it, and then the Nazis read it here, on twitter, and then it's all over their own boards and they switch to another compiler and I am out of the game. If I instead talk to a personal friend (or a date) working at the distro the Nazis get their compiler from to sign it with the distro's key but send it only to the Nazis, it works unless the Nazis themselves find it.

    The NSA is also capable of thinking in this manner. Example: if they put keylogging chips into ALL keyboards, their "tailored operations division" or TAO would not need to intercept keyboards shipped by distributors to known enemies of the US regime to install their custom rf-enabled keyloggers, as they would already be present and waiting for remote activation. The disadvantage would be that some hardware hacker somewhere would find the chips and blow the whistle. The same is true for malicious NSA-installed BIOS code: it gets installed by TAO into machines being delivered to known or suspected enemies of the NSA's bosses. That way it takes a crack at the Guardian's reporters without getting caught by someone working on Coreboot reverse-engineering the original BIOS.

    Also, if the NSA uses keyloggers as their main countermeasure to encryption, the need to screw with compilers is reduced. Still, I would assume that closed-source compilers, for which the test you linked to is impossible, would be malicious until proven otherwise, along with closed crypto, closed kernels, etc. Even China's MSS uses hardware keyloggers as much as possible.

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  • DrYak
    replied
    Originally posted by rdnetto View Post
    Additionally, if you're worried about your CPU containing bugs, creating one out of individual gates has about the same difficulty (or less) as writing a compiler.
    OpenCores.org has quite a bunch of CPU cores under varying licensing.
    (Again, in that case, you need to know VHDL and be able to audit any hardware description file, and you need also to trust or test/audit any hardware on which you're going to synthetise an implementation).

    Originally posted by Vistaus View Post
    You mean "only Microsoft". Some people on here are not even following the news, it seems. NSA was crying at MS' door that they couldn't break through Bitlocker's encryption and they pressured the team leads, but management was adamantly opposed and declined to acquiesce... So it's NSA safe.
    Well, sadly in fact, NSA won't need a backdoor: Bitlock has been reported NOT to properly clear memory regions holding its keys. (It's susceptible to cold boot attacks, etc.)

    Leave a comment:


  • rdnetto
    replied
    Originally posted by zanny View Post
    You have to trust your compiler and linker, though. And what do you build those with? I'm unaware of if gcc compiles under clang and / or vice versa, and if you are using a prebuilt binary of either it could insert the same exploits into all compilers you build. At least we can hope that the predecessor to our modern compiler infrastructure had its compiled binaries audited enough to verify it at some point, and that the GCC shipped with every distro follows a faith chain from there of open compilations without injections to the one you're running.
    There are solutions to this problem: https://www.schneier.com/blog/archiv...ring_trus.html
    Additionally, if you're worried about your CPU containing bugs, creating one out of individual gates has about the same difficulty (or less) as writing a compiler. (Admittedly, it will be about as powerful as a calculator, but you only need it for the compiler-verification process.) Individual gates are too simple to backdoor without obvious side-effects.

    Originally posted by Luke View Post
    Most judges know little about computers. Most cops don't know much about them. The NSA does but is now in disrepute. It is very unlikely that a court order (has to be served on someone who could blow the whistle instead of comply!) would go beyond directly targeting a crypto program.
    The reason there's so much fuss over what the NSA has been doing is that a lot of it wasn't authorized by court order.
    Given the recent revelations that they've been bugging Cisco's hardware, I'd say it's perfectly reasonable to question if they've been targeting compilers.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ericg
    replied
    Originally posted by batGnat View Post
    If TrueCrypt is in theory that flawed fine. But why would I need to install a new version to decrypt my hard drive? It makes no sense.
    You don't. The new version has had all encryption abilities stripped out. Anyone downloading it now can only Decrypt existing volumes, not make new ones. Presumably to guarantee that existing bugs and vulnerabilities can not be exploited to decrypt new volumes because people assumed it was still secure

    Leave a comment:


  • batGnat
    replied
    Why the new version?

    If TrueCrypt is in theory that flawed fine. But why would I need to install a new version to decrypt my hard drive? It makes no sense.

    Leave a comment:


  • rogatti
    replied
    No need to run for the hills

    Kali Linux Encrypted.
    -
    PenDrive > HD or File or ~

    Leave a comment:


  • Luke
    replied
    Most likely any court order would target crypto binaries directly

    Originally posted by zanny View Post
    You have to trust your compiler and linker, though. And what do you build those with? I'm unaware of if gcc compiles under clang and / or vice versa, and if you are using a prebuilt binary of either it could insert the same exploits into all compilers you build. At least we can hope that the predecessor to our modern compiler infrastructure had its compiled binaries audited enough to verify it at some point, and that the GCC shipped with every distro follows a faith chain from there of open compilations without injections to the one you're running.
    Most judges know little about computers. Most cops don't know much about them. The NSA does but is now in disrepute. It is very unlikely that a court order (has to be served on someone who could blow the whistle instead of comply!) would go beyond directly targettting a crypto program. If they were working at the compiler level, we would have a lot more problems, and those cases where they could not get into a corrupt banker's computer after a year of trying or can't get into a kiddie porn machine at all probably would not happen.

    In the US, a court order to modify a compiler or linker because it could be used to build a program the courts don't like might not even be legal. The sole exception might be an FBI attempt using intimidation or other illegal tactics to force a distro to serve a modified copy to a single organization or person, after a previous attempt to serve a backdoored crypto binary had failed. That, in turn, is grounds not to use distros based in your own country for building crypto unless the kernel, compiler, and linker all are signed with keys physically out of reach of the courts, spy agencies, or cops in question.

    From what we've seen the NSA's preference is to forget the crypto software and intercept computers ordered for delivery to insert malicious BIOS code and/or custom RF bugging chips in keyboards and monitors. You may recall that during the GCHQ attack on the Guardian's offices, specific and seemingly minor chips were targeted for being smashed. Never, ever order computers, keyboards, or monitors for delivery if you use crypto, always buy them randomly off the shelf using cash, never reveal your identity to the seller. For that matter, "janitor attacks" on encrypted laptops in China usually involve the MSS pulling the keyboard to install a hardware keylogger, not trying to install an "evil maid" version of the boot unlocker without even knowing what crypto and what OS they will be attacking.

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