Posts Tagged ‘Encryption’

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. :)

Office 2010: two times more secure

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

We are waiting for release of new Microsoft office suite – Office 2010. Right now Microsoft has only technical preview of new Office; this preview has been leaked from Microsoft and everyone can download it with the help of torrent trackers. We’ve got a copy of Office 2010 and analysed its (new) password protection.

Starting from Office 2007, Microsoft used password protection system called ECMA-376, developed by ECMA International. This standard is open and everyone can write ECMA-376 based protection which will be accepted by Microsoft Office. The standard allows to select hash and encryption algorithms as well as the number of hash rounds (up to 10 millions is allowed).

In Office 2007, ECMA-376 with SHA-1 hash and AES-128 encryption is implemented. The number of hash rounds is 50000 that makes password recovery really difficult and slow. Office 2010 also uses SHA-1 and AES-128, but the number of hash rounds is now 100000. Therefore password recovery for new Office files will be two times slower.

Here is a diagram of password recovery speed for Office 2007:

To get a speed for Office 2010, simply divide these values to 2. We’ll get about 175 pps on Core2 6600 and about 8750 pps on Tesla S1070.

Why don’t increase the number of hash rounds to 10 millions ? Security is really important but it always affects usability. The hash is calculating to verify a password and when each document block is decrypted. If we add hash rounds – the document decryption time is increased. If a document is opening in MS Office during one hour – its unacceptable despite of high security.

Anyway – Office 2010 documents will be more secure than Office 2007 ones. And the new encryption has backward compatibility – all Office 2010 documents can be opened in Office 2007. 

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.”


Dangerously Easy Password Recovery

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

There is only one way to break through PGP® encryption – GPU accelerated brute force – and that one is too many. New Elcomsoft Distributed Password Recovery v. 2.80.206 crunches PGP® passwords 200 times faster using graphic chips.

EDPR is all for cutting unnecessary costs, saving time and energy. Just using video cads you have at hand can result in excellent performance. In the graph you can see a huge leap in speed since graphic cards came into action.


EDPR Benchmarks (PGP® Disk/WDE)

Intel Gulftown

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

New member of Core i7 family: six cores, hyper-threading, and some new instructions — including ones for AES encryption. Unfortunately, useless for our password-cracking purposes: most password-checking routines are based on SHA-1. But anyway, an ability to run 12 threads at a time will definitely increase the performance. We’ll see (in Q1’2010). More info at Tom’s Hardware.

Electronic records security and encryption

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Sad information: Hackers grab more than 285M records in 2008. Just curious, how about Sarbanes-Oxley Act, does it really work? :)

EFS-Encrypted Data Recovery

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Encrypting File System (EFS) was first introduced in Windows 2000 and, as Microsoft claims, is an excellent encryption system with no back door.

However, the most secure encryption can be ambiguous. It would efficiently prevent hackers and other illegal intruders from breaking into your system and getting access to your well-encrypted data. The other side of the coin is that both a regular user and a seasoned administrator can lose important data due to unforeseen circumstances. It is also the case with EFS.

Check out the success story on how EFS-encrypted data can be recovered (the PDF is 81 Kbyte) with Advanced EFS Data Recovery.