Posts Tagged ‘ESR’

Breaking LUKS Encryption

August 18th, 2020 by Oleg Afonin

LUKS encryption is widely used in various Linux distributions to protect disks and create encrypted containers. Being a platform-independent, open-source specification, LUKS can be viewed as an exemplary implementation of disk encryption. Offering the choice of multiple encryption algorithms, several modes of encryption and several hash functions to choose from, LUKS is one of the tougher disk encryption systems to break. Learn how to deal with LUKS encryption in Windows and how to break in with distributed password attacks.

The wide spread of full-disk encryption makes live system analysis during incident response a challenge, but also an opportunity. A timely detection of full-disk encryption or a mounted crypto container allows experts take extra steps to secure access to encrypted evidence before pulling the plug. What steps are required and how to tell if the system is using full-disk encryption? “We have a tool for that”.

BitLocker is Windows default solution for encrypting disk volumes. A large number of organizations protect startup disks with BitLocker encryption. While adding the necessary layer of security, BitLocker also has the potential of locking administrative access to the encrypted volumes if the original Windows logon password is lost. We are offering a straightforward solution for reinstating access to BitLocker-protected Windows systems with the help of a bootable USB drive.

There is a bit of confusion about our software designed to allow breaking into password-protected systems, files, documents, and encrypted containers. We have as many as three products (and five different tools) dealing with the matter: Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor (with an unnamed memory dumping tool), Elcomsoft System Recovery and Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery, which also includes Elcomsoft Hash Extractor as part of the package. Let’s briefly go through all of them. Hopefully it will help you select the right product for your needs and save time in your investigation.

BitLocker is one of the most advanced and most commonly used volume encryption solutions. BitLocker is well-studied and extensively documented solution with few known vulnerabilities and a limited number of possible vectors of attack. BitLocker volumes may be protected with one or more protectors such as the hardware-bound TPM, user-selectable password, USB key, or combination thereof. Attacking the password is only possible in one of these cases, while other protectors require a very different set of attacks. Learn how to approach BitLocker volumes depending on the type of protector.

Accessing a locked system is always a challenge. While you might be tempted to pull the plug and image the disk, you could miss a lot of valuable evidence if you do. Full-disk encryption, EFS-encrypted files and folders and everything protected with DPAPI (including the passwords stored in most modern Web browsers) are just a few obstacles to mention. Recovering the original Windows logon is a must to access the full set of data, while resetting the logon password may help unlock working accounts in emergencies.

Full-disk encryption presents an immediate challenge to forensic experts. When acquiring computers with encrypted system volumes, the investigation cannot go forward without breaking the encryption first. Traditionally, experts would remove the hard drive(s), make disk images and work from there. We are offering a faster and easier way to access information required to break full-disk system encryption by booting from a flash drive and obtaining encryption metadata required to brute-force the original plain-text passwords to encrypted volumes. For non-system volumes, experts can quickly pull the system’s hibernation file to extract on-the-fly encryption keys later on with Elcomsoft Forensic Disk Decryptor.

Some 22 years ago, Microsoft made an attempt to make Windows more secure by adding an extra layer of protection. The SAM Lock Tool, commonly known as SYSKEY (the name of its executable file), was used to encrypt the content of the Windows Security Account Manager (SAM) database. The encryption was using a 128-bit RC4 encryption key.

As you may already know, we’ve released an update to Elcomsoft System Recovery, a tool allowing to reset or recover Windows and Microsoft Account passwords by booting from an external USB drive. The new build allows creating bootable USB drives for devices exclusively relying on UEFI bootloaders. Why was this change needed? Read below for an answer!

BitLocker is a popular full-disk encryption scheme employed in all versions of Windows (but not in every edition) since Windows Vista. BitLocker is used to protect stationary and removable volumes against outside attacks. Since Windows 8, BitLocker is activated by default on compatible devices if the administrative account logs in with Microsoft Account credentials. BitLocker protection is extremely robust, becoming a real roadblock for digital forensics.