Archive for the ‘Did you know that…?’ Category

Mobile password keepers don’t keep the word

Friday, March 16th, 2012

We’ve analyzed 17 popular password management apps available for Apple iOS and BlackBerry platforms, including free and commercially available tools, and discovered that no single password keeper app provides a claimed level of protection. None of the password keepers except one are utilizing iOS or BlackBerry existing security model, relying on their own implementation of data encryption. ElcomSoft research shows that those implementations fail to provide an adequate level of protection, allowing an attacker to recover encrypted information in less than a day if user-selectable Master Password is 10 to 14 digits long.

The Research

Both platforms being analyzed, BlackBerry and Apple iOS, feature comprehensive data security mechanisms built-in. Exact level of security varies depending on which version of Apple iOS is used or how BlackBerry users treat memory card encryption. However, in general, the level of protection provided by each respective platform is adequate if users follow general precautions.

The same cannot be said about most password management apps ElcomSoft analyzed. Only one password management app for the iOS platform, DataVault Password Manager, stores passwords in secure iOS-encrypted keychain. This level of protection is good enough by itself; however, that app provides little extra protection above iOS default levels. Skipping the complex math (which is available in the original whitepaper), information stored in 10 out of 17 password keepers can be recovered in a day – guaranteed if user-selectable master password is 10 to 14 digits long, depending on application. What about the other seven keepers? Passwords stored in them can be recovered instantly because passwords are either stored unencrypted, are encrypted with a fixed password, or are simply misusing cryptography.

Interestingly, BlackBerry Password Keeper and Wallet 1.0 and 1.2 offer very little protection on top of BlackBerry device password. Once the device password is known, master password(s) for Wallet and/or Password Keeper can be recovered with relative ease.

In the research we used both Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker and Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit.

Recommendations

Many password management apps offered on the market do not provide adequate level of security. ElcomSoft strongly encourages users not to rely on their advertised security, but rather use iOS or BlackBerry built-in security features.

In order to keep their data safe, Apple users should set up a passcode and a really complex backup password. The unlocked device should not be plugged to non-trusted computers to prevent creation of pairing. Unencrypted backups should not be created.

BlackBerry users should set up a device password and make sure media card encryption is off or set to “Encrypt using Device Key” or “Encrypt using Device Key and Device Password” in order to prevent attackers from recovering device password based on what’s stored on the media card. Unencrypted device backups should not be created.

The full whitepaper is available at http://www.elcomsoft.com/WP/BH-EU-2012-WP.pdf

ElcomSoft Discovers Most of Its Customers Want Stricter Security Policies but Won’t Bother Changing Default Passwords

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

We runned yet another Password Usage Bahaviour survey on our Web site and gthered statistically significant data, reflected in the following charts. And the main conclusion was that most people working with sensitive information want stricter security policies but rarely bother changing default passwords.

Less than 50% of all respondents come from Computer Law, Educational, Financial, Forensics, Government, Military and Scientific organizations. The larger half of respondents comes from ‘Other’ type of organizations.

Less than 30% of respondents indicated they have never forgotten a password. Most frequently quoted reasons for losing a password to a resource would be infrequent use of a resource (28%), not writing it down (16%), returning from a vacation (13%).

Only about 25% of all respondents indicated they change their passwords regularly. The rest will either change their passwords infrequently (24%), sporadically or almost never.

The quiz revealed a serious issue with how most respondents handle default passwords (passwords that are automatically generated or assigned to their accounts by system administrators). Only 28% of respondents would always change the default password, while more than 50% would usually keep the assigned one. In ElcomSoft’s view, this information should really raise an alert with IT security staff and call for a password security audit. ElcomSoft offers a relevant tool, Proactive Password Auditor, allowing organizations performing an audit of their network account passwords.

Unsurprisingly for a sample with given background, most respondents weren’t happy about their organizations’ security policies, being in either full or partial disagreement with their employer’s current policy (61%). 76% of all respondents indicated they wanted a stricter security policy, while 24% would want a looser one. The surprising part is discovered in the next chart: of those who are fully content with their employers’ security policies, only 11% would leave it as it is, 20% would vote for a looser policy, and 69% would rather have a stricter security policy.

The complete results and charts are available at http://www.elcomsoft.com/PR/quiz-charts.pdf

Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit highlighted in SANS Information Security Reading Room

Monday, August 15th, 2011

SANS Information Security Reading Room has recently publicized a whitepaper about iOS security where they mentioned our software – Elcomsoft iOS Forensic Toolkit – in a section about encryption. Kiel Thomas, the author of the whitepaper, explained one more time the main principles of iOS 4 encryption, which became stronger in comparison with iOS 3.x and how our toolkit can bypass new strong algorithms.

In its next part about iTunes Backups Kiel touches upon Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker which virtually crunches backup passwords at speed of 35000 passwords per second (with AMD Radeon HD 5970) using both brute force and dictionary attacks, here are some benchmarks.

It seems the paper does not miss out on any nuance about iOS 4 and provides practical advice to either avoid or prevent from the depressing outcomes, such as loss of data. Closer to the end of the paper you will also find several sagacious tips for using the devices within organizations, including passcode management, a so called “first line of defense” which according Kiel’s view “can be matched to existing password policies”, however he inclines to use passwords instead of 4 digit passcodes.

And in conclusion the author discovers that smartphone and tablet security measurements resemble the ones of laptops, because they all belong to mobile devices.  Find out more details in the source itself: http://www.sans.org/reading_room/whitepapers/pda/security-implications-ios_33724
 

ElcomSoft Opens a Password Store to Sell Passwords Balancing Strength and Memorability

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Great news, ElcomSoft starts Elcomsoft Password Store, an online service to supply customers with guaranteed secure passwords. The new Password Store provides customers a variety of selections, and complies with all industrial and government requirements regarding the length and complexity of passwords being sold. As a value-added service, the company offers near-instant recovery of all passwords sold through its Password Store for a nominal fee.

The many different security policies and government regulations make standard practices of choosing passwords inadequate (passwords are too easy to break) or unfeasible (passwords are impossible to memorize, get written on yellow stickers, and get easily hijacked).  To facilitate the needs of its customers, ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. employed its extensive expertise in the areas of information security and password recovery, and offers a service to provide the perfect balance between password strength and memorability. After breaking millions of passwords, the company has inside information on what’s strong, what’s weak, and what’s adequate for every task.

Offering three strength levels and several additional options, ElcomSoft offers an economical way to create passwords perfect for the type of information they protect. Customers can choose passwords that are short and strong, long and extremely strong, or very long and guaranteed unbreakable. For a small extra fee, Password Store customers can choose passwords that are easy to pronounce or quick to memorize, without sacrificing a single bit of security. In addition, ElcomSoft offer a “gift-wrap” option that accompanies every password with a digital authenticity certificate.

As a value-added service, ElcomSoft offers exclusive password recovery service to all customers of its Password Store. For a nominal fee, forgotten passwords can be recovered in an instant. Under no circumstances will the company sell passwords to any third-parties or upload the lists to the three-letter agencies, government or law enforcement officials unless they become our clients and buy their own passwords.

More info at http://www.elcomsoft.com/password_store.html

Canon cannot or mustn’t provide image validation feature?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

A true security system cannot be so fragile: Canon Original Data Security broken…

Find 3 differences from original Now if your partner gets a compromising anonymous image where you are enjoying yourself with nice blond with blue eyes or charming young man, don’t panic and don’t get upset, you can easily prove it is just a fake (even if it’s not ;) ).  Seriously, how can we trust photographic evidence in the era of Photoshop and other designer tools? The genuineness of a digital image can only be proven by special digital tools…like OSK-E3?

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, it turned out that OSK-E3 (Canon Original Data Security Kit) cannot guarantee image authenticity, because now it can recognize even fake images as true and genuine. However, the problem is not in OSK-E3, it is in Canon Original Data Security system implemented in most modern Canon DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras.

Now it’s possible (well, Dmitry did it recently and who knows if somebody could do it earlier ;) ) to dump camera’s memory, extract secret keys from the camera, and calculate ODD (= Original Decision Data) which answer for any changes done to the image. And thus name the modified image as original one.

What Canon can do? It seems like Canon can nothing do with their models right now, because the fundamental problem lies not in the software. Changing the software could possibly solve the question, until someone again finds its vulnerability. But adding cryptoprocessors that won’t expose the secret key and thus will prevent from any penetrations from outside would close the loophole.

Have a look at some of our fake images that pass verification test by OSK-E3: http://www.elcomsoft.com/canon.html

So, can you now trust Canon’s OSK decision if an image is original or not?

Hacking For Dummies, 3rd Edition by Kevin Beaver

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Although this new book is on sale from January this year, we are happy to officially say our words of gratitude to Kevin Beaver and advise it to you.

In his book Kevin insists that the best way to really understand how to protect your systems and assess their security is to think from a hacker’s viewpoint, get involved, learn how systems can be attacked, find and eliminate their vulnerabilities.  It all practically amounts to being inquisitive and focusing on real problems as in contrast to blindly following common security requirements without understanding what it’s all about.

Kevin extensively writes on the questions of cracking passwords and weak encryption implementations in widely used operating systems, applications and networks. He also suggests Elcomsoft software, in particular Advanced Archive Password Recovery, Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery, Elcomsoft System Recovery, Proactive Password Auditor, and Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor, as effective tools to regularly audit system security and close detected holes.

In this guide Kevin communicates the gravity of ethical hacking in very plain and clear words and gives step –by- step instructions to follow. He easily combines theory and praxis providing valuable tips and recommendations to assess and then improve security weaknesses in your systems.

We want to thank Kevin for testing and including our software in his very “digestible” beginner guide to hacking and recommend our readers this book as a helpful tool to get all facts in order. :)

It was Data Privacy Day… our warmest congratulations!

Friday, January 29th, 2010

ElcomSoft always have yet another pair of eyes for your privacy… :)

Encryption and decryption from security law perspective (Part II)

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

In my previous post I suggested several variants of computer security translated by different laws. Now I’d like to get to ciphers…again viewed by law.

So, how does the law see encryption and decryption issues through glasses of security standard? First of all, it says there simply should be encryption/decryption tools available.

ENCRYTION AND DECRYPTION (A) – § 164.312(a)(2)(iv)
Where this implementation specification is a reasonable and appropriate safeguard for a covered entity, the covered entity must:
“Implement a mechanism to encrypt and decrypt electronic protected health information.”

(more…)

Reasonable, appropriate, adequate…security (Part I)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Most laws define security obligations as reasonable, appropriate, suitable, necessary, adequate etc. without giving more precise directives to follow. Is it good or bad? And what should be known about these standards?

Let’s see what major security standards say about recommended security measures.

(more…)

The U.S. statutes on password related crimes – overview by states

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

In this entry I’d like to suggest a kind of a list of various legal decisions on password [ab]use I could find on the web. Your add-ins are welcome, just put in any other acts you know…

Georgia Computer Systems Protection Act
(e) Computer Password Disclosure. Any person who discloses a number, code, password, or other means of access to a computer or computer network knowing that such disclosure is without authority and which results in damages (including the fair market value of any services used and victim expenditure) to the owner of the computer or computer network in excess of $500.00 shall be guilty of the crime of computer password disclosure.
(more…)