Popular Encryption Systems Cracked

by Lincoln Spector for Windows Secrets Newsletter

Popular Encryption Systems Cracked

Conventional wisdom has been that files protected with good encryption can’t be cracked.

But a new, $300, wizard-driven app can unlock BitLocker-, PGP-, and TrueCrypt-encrypted files, folders, and drives — no matter how strong a password you’re using.

It’s the sort of story that could keep you up at night. Last month, Elcomsoft released the Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor (EFDD; more info), a program that opens encrypted files without trying to guess your password or attack it with brute force (Wikipedia info). In fact, the actual password is effectively irrelevant. A long, random string such as bS2f#[[email protected]=Uq3a,.B provides no better protection against EFDD than would “password” or “12345.”

That’s the bad news. The good news? EFDD works only within a limited set of conditions — and those conditions are actually fairly easy to avoid. And it’s not as if just anyone could put down $300 and use EFDD to quickly crack encrypted data. Although it’s wizard-driven, EFDD is not all that easy to use.

Encryption cracking without guessing passwords

First, it’s important to note that products such as EFDD serve a legal, legitimate purpose. If a user has forgotten his or her password, these forensic programs can restore access to otherwise lost data. If an employee purposely or accidentally locks a company out of its critical business files, password crackers are a perfectly legitimate recovery tool.

Other examples of legitimate uses for EFDD-like applications include Windows’ own Encrypted File System (EFS) — an encryption tool I don’t recommend. Windows automatically decrypts EFS-encrypted files when they’re opened (provided you’re properly signed in to the OS.) The process is so transparent, you can forget that you have encrypted files. Then, when your computer dies or you have to reinstall Windows, you suddenly discover your files are inaccessible. Microsoft provides a fix, but you need to have prepared for its use ahead of time.

Article continued here

This excerpt appears with permission from Windows Secrets Newsletter.

 699 total views,  2 views today

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

One thought on “Popular Encryption Systems Cracked

  1. Bitlocker encrypted my hard drive on its own and I have no way to get recovery key? It’s a 2019 dell laptop with windows 10. I called dell and Microsoft either could help me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.