Chemical Safety Incidents
Flaws Found in Encryption Program
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 @ 02:09 PM gHale
There are two holes in the TrueCrypt program that encrypts Windows users’ hard drives.
TrueCrypt remains one of the few encryption options for Windows and James Forshaw, of the Google Project Zero team, found two vulnerabilities in the driver that TrueCrypt installs on Windows systems.
The flaws, 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 “it may contain unfixed security issues” and advised users to switch to BitLocker, Microsoft’s full-disk encryption feature available on some Windows versions.
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, already completed when TrueCrypt ended up discontinued. The auditors found no high-severity issues or evidence of intentional backdoors in the program.
The first phase of the TrueCrypt audit project, performed by security engineers from iSEC Partners, a subsidiary of information assurance company NCC Group, covered the driver code, but “Windows drivers are complex beasts” and it’s easy to miss local elevation of privilege flaws, Forshaw said.
Forshaw hasn’t disclosed details about the two bugs yet, saying he usually waits seven days after a patch releases to open his bug reports.
Since TrueCrypt remains unsupported, bugs will not get a direct fix. However, they did end up fixed in VeraCrypt, an open-source program based on the TrueCrypt code that aims to continue and improve the original project.
VeraCrypt 1.15 released Saturday, contains patches for the two vulnerabilities, identified as CVE-2015-7358 and CVE-2015-7359, as well as for other bugs. The program’s developer only flagged the CVE-2015-7358 flaw as critical and said it can end up exploited by “abusing drive letter handling.”