from the Another-one-bites-the-dust dept.
The TrueCrypt website has been changed it now has a big red warning stating "WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues". They recommend using BitLocker for Windows 7/8, FileVault for OS X, or (whatever) for Linux. So, what happened? The TrueCrypt site says:
This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt. The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms (click here for more information). You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform.
Did the TrueCrypt devs (or SourceForge?) get a NSL? They are offering a "new" version (7.2), but apparently the signing key has changed and a source code diff seems to indicate a lot of the functionality has been stripped out. What's up?
Open Crypto Audit Project has completed "Phase II" (PDF) of its audit of the TrueCrypt source code. The security audit of TrueCrypt, a freeware disk encryption utility, was crowdfunded in October 2013, before the TrueCrypt Foundation's mysterious shutdown on May 28, 2014. In his blog post describing the findings, Matthew Green says:
The TL;DR is that based on this audit, Truecrypt appears to be a relatively well-designed piece of crypto software. The NCC audit found no evidence of deliberate backdoors, or any severe design flaws that will make the software insecure in most instances.
That doesn't mean Truecrypt is perfect. The auditors did find a few glitches and some incautious programming -- leading to a couple of issues that could, in the right circumstances, cause Truecrypt to give less assurance than we'd like it to.
The most significant issue found involved TrueCrypt continuing to generate keys in a rare instance where the Windows Crypto API fails to initialize. This is not necessarily insecure because TrueCrypt "still collects entropy from sources such as system pointers and mouse movements."
In addition to the RNG issues, the NCC auditors also noted some concerns about the resilience of Truecrypt's AES code to cache timing attacks. This is probably not a concern unless you're [performing] encryption and decryption on a shared machine, or in an environment where the attacker can run code on your system (e.g., in a sandbox, or potentially in the browser). Still, this points the way to future hardening of any projects that use Truecrypt as a base.
One project that could benefit from the audit's findings is VeraCrypt, a freeware fork of TrueCrypt licensed under the Microsoft Public License and also subject to the TrueCrypt License, which uses a substantial amount of TrueCrypt code. Matthew Green has speculated that the intent of the TrueCrypt developers' licensing and shutdown decisions was to stir uncertainty over the project and force new disk encryption projects to start from scratch.
In an update to the speculation that TrueCrypt development was officially discontinued as a response to efforts by US intelligence agencies to compromise the project, the TrueCrypt web site seems to contain a secret message warning potential users of NSA interference in the integrity of the software. The apparent message, "Don't use TrueCrypt because it is under the control of the NSA" is read as an acrostic in Latin, contained in the message announcing developer cessation of the project on SouceForge. Two independent analytical exercises, conducted independently, arrive at the same conclusion. User "Badon" at the Live Business Chat message board has a detailed exegesis including screenshots and footnotes.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: I have cross checked this on some Latin specific sites, and the consensus seems to be that it is nonsensical from a perspective of proper Latin grammar and syntax. However, Google Translation does reproduce these results. I can certainly believe that a warning might have been composed using G.T. rather than by consulting a classicist. --ED]
Last month, SoylentNews reported that TrueCrypt was discontinued. Many have speculated that a fork would happen, but the TrueCrypt license makes that complicated. Now, Ars Technica reports about contact with a TrueCrypt developer on the subject:
In the days immediately following last month's TrueCrypt retirement, Johns Hopkins University professor Matt Green asked one of the secretive developers if it would be OK for other software engineers to use the existing source code to start an independent version. The developer responded:
"I am sorry, but I think what you're asking for here is impossible. I don't feel that forking truecrypt would be a good idea, a complete rewrite was something we wanted to do for a while. I believe that starting from scratch wouldn't require much more work than actually learning and understanding all of truecrypt's current codebase.
I have no problem with the source code being used as reference."
So, it looks like a fork won't happen after all. But a commenter there noted the existence of FreeOTFE, and I had previously noted tc-play. So even without a TrueCrypt fork, maybe developers won't have to start completely from scratch.
[Ed'sNote: At the time of posting, the Wikipedia entry for FreeOTFE notes that the domain has been dormant for some time. Whether work continues on FreeOTFE is uncertain. The concept sounds very much like the full disk encryption that has been available for linux for quite some time, but which does not provide plausible deniability. If I am wrong in these assumptions, I would welcome being corrected!]
According to a German researcher, Mattias Schlenker, we are to expect that the reason for TrueCrypt's recent shutdown is not a National Security Letter, but a serious security flaw in how TC container files are created on Windows.
He expects the flaw to become public within a week.
What gives this chap some credibility is that he's one of the developers of "desinfec't", a Knoppix-based live Linux that comes with several virus scanners and is distributed by well-renowned German computer magazine c't (whose mother company/publishing house, Heise, hosts the forum where he made his announcement).
Link to his original German posting: http://www.heise.de/security/news/foren/S-Re-Warum -TrueCrypt-nicht-in-Desinfec-t-enthalten-ist/forum -280432/msg-25289876/read/
See our earlier coverage: TrueCrypt Discontinued, Compromised.
VeraCrypt security audit reveals many flaws, some already patched [Zeljka Zorz/Helpnet Security]
VeraCrypt, the free, open source disk encryption software based on TrueCrypt, has been audited by experts from cybersecurity company Quarkslab.
The researchers found 8 critical, 3 medium, and 15 low-severity vulnerabilities, and some of them have already been addressed in version 1.19 of the software, which was released on the same day as the audit report.
The code auditing effort analyzed VeraCrypt 1.18 and its bootloaders.
"A first step consisted in verifying that the problems and vulnerabilities identified by iSec and NCC Group in TrueCrypt 7.1a for the Open Crypto Audit Project had been taken into account and fixed," the Quarkslab researchers involved in the effort explained.
"Then, the remaining study was to identify potential security problems in the code specific to VeraCrypt. Contrary to other TrueCrypt forks, the goal of VeraCrypt is not only to fix the public vulnerabilities of TrueCrypt, but also to bring new features to the software."
Are any Soylentils using Veracrypt and/or other forks of Trucrypt?
The full audit report: TrueCrypt Cryptographic Review[PDF] [Alex Balducci, Sean Devlin, Tom Ritter/Open Crypto Audit Project]
Independent Audit: Newly Found TrueCrypt Flaw Allows Full System Compromise
No Backdoors Found in TrueCrypt
TrueCrypt Site Encodes Warning about NSA Infiltration
TrueCrypt Discontinued, Compromised?
-- submitted from IRC