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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 25 2016, @10:09PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the decrypt-this dept.

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."

A short overview of the issues found (fixed and still not fixed) can be found here. The audit report, with mitigations for still unpatched vulnerabilities, can be downloaded from here.

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]

Previously:
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


Original Submission

Related Stories

TrueCrypt Discontinued, Compromised? 91 comments

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?

TrueCrypt Site Encodes Warning about NSA Infiltration 52 comments

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]

No Backdoors Found in TrueCrypt 20 comments
takyon, zorax, and an Anonymous Coward all write:

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.

For additional analysis of the audit, see the articles by ArsTechnica's Dan Goodin, the Register and Threatpost.

Independent Audit: Newly Found TrueCrypt Flaw Allows Full System Compromise 16 comments

ITWorld reports:

The flaws, which were apparently missed in an earlier independent audit of the TrueCrypt source code, could allow attackers to obtain elevated privileges on a system if they have access to a limited user account.

The original authors of TrueCrypt, who have remained anonymous, abruptly shut down the project in May 2014 warning that "it may contain unfixed security issues" and advised users to switch to BitLocker, Microsoft's full-disk encryption feature that's available in certain versions of Windows.

At that time a crowd-funded effort was already underway to perform a professional security audit of TrueCrypt's source code and its cryptography implementations. The first phase, which analyzed the TrueCrypt driver and other critical parts of the code, had already been completed when TrueCrypt was discontinued. The auditors found no high-severity issues or evidence of intentional backdoors in the program.

It's impossible to tell if the new flaws discovered by Forshaw were introduced intentionally or not, but they do show that despite professional code audits, serious bugs can remain undiscovered


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Post-Nihilist on Tuesday October 25 2016, @10:43PM

    by Post-Nihilist (5672) on Tuesday October 25 2016, @10:43PM (#418757)

    Problem:

    The availability of GOST 28147-89, a symmetric block cipher with a 64-bit block size, is an issue. This algorithm has been added in VeraCrypt 1.18. It is a 64-bit block cipher, contrary to the other block ciphers used in VeraCrypt. The XTS code has not been adapted for such ciphers, so VeraCrypt emulates a 128-bit block cipher by encrypting two 64-bit blocks in CBC mode with a zero IV, which in itself raises several issues. Furthermore, to reach the same level of security as its 128-bit counterpart, the amount of data to be processed should be no more than 512 bytes which is too small to be considered for a data at rest encryption system. GOST 28147-89 will be removed in version 1.19.

    Mitigation: do not use GOST 28147-89

    Problem:

    If the system is encrypted, the boot password (in UEFI mode) or its length (in legacy mode) could be retrieved by an attacker.

    Mitigation: use a long password and avoid UEFI.

    Problem:

    Vulnerabilities which require substantial modifications of the code or the architecture of the project have not been fixed. These include the AES implementation, which is still susceptible to cache-timing attacks.

    Mitigation: replace AES with Camellia

    --
    Be like us, be different, be a nihilist!!!
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday October 26 2016, @12:40AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 26 2016, @12:40AM (#418783) Homepage Journal

      So, essentially, Veracrypt is the best thing on the market, IF you understand those three vulnerabilities and their "fixes"?

      And, even if you don't know to avoid GOST, and to use a long password, to avoid UEFI, and to use Camellia - Veracrypt is still pretty good?

      These vulnerabilities have been identified, but there seems to be no indication that they are being exploited - yet.

      --
      There is a supply side shortage of pronouns. You will take whatever you are offered.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Post-Nihilist on Wednesday October 26 2016, @02:07AM

        by Post-Nihilist (5672) on Wednesday October 26 2016, @02:07AM (#418812)

        GOST 28147-89 is for Russian fetishist.

        If you do not know how to use long password Veracrypt is not for you

        And cache timing attack are somewhat impraticables.

        if you have a need to encrypt a volumes and you do not have the ressources of a nation state then yes veracrypt is still pretty good
        And I felt trolled

        --
        Be like us, be different, be a nihilist!!!
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by driverless on Wednesday October 26 2016, @10:36AM

      by driverless (4770) on Wednesday October 26 2016, @10:36AM (#418915)

      These include the AES implementation, which is still susceptible to cache-timing attacks.

      Mitigation: replace AES with Camellia

      So in order to carry out this attack you need to have an attacker's hostile software running with root privs, or close to it, on the CPU doing the disk encryption. Mitigation: Not a real attack, nothing to mitigate.

      (Also, how do you know the Camellia implementation is any better?).

      • (Score: 2) by Post-Nihilist on Wednesday October 26 2016, @09:19PM

        by Post-Nihilist (5672) on Wednesday October 26 2016, @09:19PM (#419153)

        Your right, Camellia has the potential to be worse

        --
        Be like us, be different, be a nihilist!!!
        • (Score: 2) by Post-Nihilist on Wednesday October 26 2016, @09:23PM

          by Post-Nihilist (5672) on Wednesday October 26 2016, @09:23PM (#419155)

          I missed that phrase : "NCC Group’s report only focuses on AES. We did not check if other implementations are
          susceptible to such attacks" when I first read the report, I apologize

          --
          Be like us, be different, be a nihilist!!!
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Fnord666 on Tuesday October 25 2016, @10:58PM

    by Fnord666 (652) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday October 25 2016, @10:58PM (#418759) Homepage
    For those who want to cut to the chase, here is a link to the VeraCrypt Audit Report [ostif.org].
  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @03:25AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @03:25AM (#418832)
    Seems to me Veracrypt is introducing bugs that are more serious and the Veracrypt coders seem to be of a lower grade than the Truecrypt coders.

    Yes Truecrypt has vulnerabilities but many of them do not apply for the "non-shared machine" scenario. If you are using disk encryption and you are sharing the machine live with other users (e.g. attackers have already pwned you) then you are doing it wrong.

    Item: "Weak Volume Header Key Derivation Algorithm"
    Use a passphrase just a few characters longer and you'd achieve the same thing as going from 1000 round PBKDF2[1] to a million rounds.

    Item: "Cache timing"
    "The only attack scenario where it would be possible to take advantage of a cache-timing is the case of physical machine hosting two virtual machines, one with a system entirely encrypted and the other controlled by an attacker."
    If the attacker has enough access and smarts to pwn you or your data in that scenario you are probably pwned by the attacker already through other easier ways.

    Item:"Multiple Issues in the Bootloader Decompressor"
    How is this a real problem?

    Item: "Sensitive Information Might Be Paged Out from Kernel Stacks"
    This is a problem but possible workarounds are to not enable paging, or to only page to encrypted drives.

    [1] if you want to fuck with those trying to brute force your stuff, what you can do is hash the passphrase then use the results to help determine the rounds for PBKDF2 (e.g. rounds= 2000+ (sha256(passphrase) mod 1000 ) ). It'll be fun to see them build ASICs to handle that.
    • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @12:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @12:01PM (#418938)

      Seems to me Veracrypt is introducing bugs that are more serious and the Veracrypt coders seem to be of a lower grade than the Truecrypt coders.

      It's not clear to me whether these vulnerabilities are in features added since the Truecrypt fork, or if they're bugs in code inherited from Truecrypt itself.

      IIRC, the audit/s that Truecrypt underwent were only of specific subsystems, and not as thorough as this one.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @06:44PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @06:44PM (#419087)

        That's because you didn't read one of the links supplied: http://blog.quarkslab.com/security-assessment-of-veracrypt-fixes-and-evolutions-from-truecrypt.html [quarkslab.com]

        Among the problems found during the audit, some must be corrected quickly:

                The availability of GOST 28147-89, a symmetric block cipher with a 64-bit block size, is an issue. This algorithm has been added in VeraCrypt 1.18. It is a 64-bit block cipher, contrary to the other block ciphers used in VeraCrypt. The XTS code has not been adapted for such ciphers, so VeraCrypt emulates a 128-bit block cipher by encrypting two 64-bit blocks in CBC mode with a zero IV, which in itself raises several issues. Furthermore, to reach the same level of security as its 128-bit counterpart, the amount of data to be processed should be no more than 512 bytes which is too small to be considered for a data at rest encryption system. GOST 28147-89 will be removed in version 1.19.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @01:33PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 26 2016, @01:33PM (#418964)

    I have a client using TrueCrypt still. They are using the last released version; we saved the binaries in various places. They are in a very confidential business and were concerned following public data leaks that something like that could happen to them. The company partners didn't want to trust Microsoft to not have golden keys for their encryption scheme someone could steal; they felt if someone stole MS's keys, MS would be good at covering it up, and we wouldn't know until years later, well after their business was ruined by a data leak.

    I wanted to change them to VeraCrypt, but it's installed on around 100 PCs, and the users are not very technically literate. There was a concern about retraining them if the screen didn't look exactly identical on each machine they might need to use. Probably won't be able to upgrade them to a new setup until the next major company-wide upgrade.

    I do wonder about the real effectiveness of the encryption in the event that a machine was actually stolen as they fear.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday October 26 2016, @02:14PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday October 26 2016, @02:14PM (#418984)

      I have a client using TrueCrypt still. They are using the last released version

      Technically they're probably using the second-to-last version, since the last build they released concurrent with their closing the project only allows you to read volumes, but not write to them.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Francis on Wednesday October 26 2016, @02:31PM

      by Francis (5544) on Wednesday October 26 2016, @02:31PM (#418994)

      In other words, they're idiots that have been coddled.

      It's rather unfortunate, that IT winds up having to babysit people that are too lazy to learn anything. A simple one page document should be more than enough to get people to switch to a new program like this. The security implications of a new program really ought to be a bigger concern than the users.

      Now, if this were a replacement for a complicated piece of software like Office, I could completely understand it, but at some point people need to just accept that they need to actually learn how to use computers. The last thing we need is for another generation of folks to think it's OK to be bad with computers. It's bad enough that we have people thinking it's OK to be bad at math when they aren't even trying to do math. At least those consequences tend to not affect others.

      • (Score: 2) by lgw on Wednesday October 26 2016, @08:11PM

        by lgw (2836) on Wednesday October 26 2016, @08:11PM (#419122)

        I've yet to see any practical exploits in TrueCrypt that are fixed in VeraCrypt. Why would you insist people change? Until we have real evidence that VeraCrypt is making the overall security better than TrueCrypt, what's the win, and what's the urgency?

        I begin to suspect you're an IT guy of the tier who still thinks changing passwords every 90 days is a good idea.

        • (Score: 1) by Francis on Thursday October 27 2016, @12:18AM

          by Francis (5544) on Thursday October 27 2016, @12:18AM (#419216)

          Because Truecrypt is known to have exploits, we still don't know why they suddenly abandoned it and the developers of Veracrypt appear to be taking things seriously and were cooperating with the audit. I'm sure they'll fix whatever the audit before too long.

          OTOH, at some point you do have to make the switch, given the highly unusual way in which Truecrypt ended it's existence, I wouldn't personally trust it further than I could throw the developers. I don't use Veracrypt either, but I haven't used Truecrypt a single time since the project was shuttered other than to remove my files from it.

          What's more, the security of the software is usually less of a problem than the security of the users and if they're so dense that IT was worried about them making this transition, that doesn't speak well about them.

          • (Score: 2) by lgw on Friday October 28 2016, @12:36AM

            by lgw (2836) on Friday October 28 2016, @12:36AM (#419659)

            Because Truecrypt is known to have exploits

            What practical exploits is Truecrypt known to have? The audit didn't find any, beyond "short passwords aren't safe".

            OTOH, at some point you do have to make the switch, given the highly unusual way in which Truecrypt ended it's existence

            I trust audits over speculation. I believe the devs ended the project to prevent exploits being added, when pressure was brought to bear on one of them by a government. It's certainly possible that it has an exploit no one found yet, and the government pressured a dev to keep it secret, but that's possible with any tool, so what can we trust beyond audits (and hope they aren't also compromised)?

            • (Score: 1) by Francis on Friday October 28 2016, @02:36PM

              by Francis (5544) on Friday October 28 2016, @02:36PM (#419855)

              How quaint, you've still got faith in humanity.

              The truth here is that we don't know why they up and stopped development suddenly. I can't think of any other projects like this that were abandoned so quickly with no explanation or signs ahead of time. It is speculation, but it's certainly a safer speculation than your far less likely view that there's an exploit that the government wanted kept secret.

              Ultimately, do what you want, but it's ridiculous to use questionable encryption technology under this sort of circumstance. The Veracrypt folks will fix those bugs and do you really want to be the one whose stuff gets broken into because somebody made one of those impractical exploits practical?

              Also, read the audit, but if the data is worth encrypting, then it's worth encrypting with something secure and supported.

              • (Score: 2) by lgw on Saturday October 29 2016, @12:56AM

                by lgw (2836) on Saturday October 29 2016, @12:56AM (#420003)

                Fundamentally, I don't trust the Veracrypt guys yet.