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."
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
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?
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]
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.
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