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Lothar

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"Encryption Works!"
« on: July 07, 2010, 01:55:35 AM »

http://www.lewrockwell.com/spl2/encryption-works.html

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If you use a technology called "encryption" properly, not even the government can read the information on your computer.

With encryption software, no one but you and your intended recipient can read your e-mail messages, text messages, instant messages, etc.  You can even encrypt your entire hard disk to protect everything on your PC from prying eyes.

Occasionally I encounter naysayers who tell me I'm wrong.  "The FBI, CIA, or NSA can unlock any type of encryption," they say.  "Relying on encryption just raises your profile."

I'm not a computer expert, and I certainly don't know what capabilities the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies have to decrypt encrypted information.  But in at least one case, even the FBI couldn't decipher data on a PC protected by an encryption program called "TrueCrypt."

In July 2008, Brazilian federal police seized a computer owned by a banker named Daniel Dantas.  The seizure occurred in connection with Dantas' arrest for money laundering, tax evasion and racketeering.

In the meantime, police were trying to decrypt Dantas hard disks, and getting nowhere.  They turned to the FBI for assistance in late 2008.  After trying to break the code for more than a year, the FBI returned the hard drives to Brazilian police earlier this year, with the encryption intact.  The programs Dantas used to encrypt the hard drive were TrueCrypt and another, unspecified encryption program.

Apparently investigators were unable to get past the passphrase that appears when a PC's entire hard disk is encrypted.  To break the password, both Brazilian authorities and the FBI used a "dictionary" attack.  This involves successively trying all the words in a list, often taken from a dictionary or simple variations of words in a dictionary.  Dictionary attacks often succeed because many PC users employ short, easy-to-remember passphrases.  Obviously, Dantas was more sophisticated than most computer users.

However, Dantas wasn't as successful staying out of jail.  Although his data remains securely encrypted, in December 2008, he was convicted of attempted bribery of a police officer and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  In this case, at least, Dantas would have done better to rely on technology than on human greed.
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anarchir

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Re: "Encryption Works!"
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2010, 05:10:58 PM »

I've got TrueCrypt. I wonder if I should get around to actually using it?
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BobRobertson

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Re: "Encryption Works!"
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2010, 06:04:54 PM »

For cross platform functionality and the non-Microsoft-shackled, there's Gnu Privacy Guard, http://www.gnupg.org/

Oh, and The Onion Router http://www.torproject.org/

GPG is like the "security" envelopes people use to thwart casual spying. Use it for everything, and they'll never know when it's important.

Keep in mind what Phil Zimmerman said about PGP, back in 1993 when he started it all,

"I used to feel like a flea on the back of a Tyranosaurus Rex. Now I feel like a small yapping dog on the back of a Tyranosaurus Rex."

Many Linux installers now will also automatically install your system in an encrypted partition, which isn't foolproof but then nothing is. Heck, just using Linux will probably confuse the Powers That Be enough to give them ulcers, which is about all us yapping dogs can expect to do.
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"I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, April 26th 1820

ForumTroll

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Re: "Encryption Works!"
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2010, 06:29:24 PM »

Encryption is a pain in the ass, though.
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sillyperson

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Re: "Encryption Works!"
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2010, 11:31:02 PM »

Encryption is a pain in the ass, though.
Not on Linux.
Loopback encryption devices FTW

ForumTroll

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Re: "Encryption Works!"
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2010, 11:56:32 PM »

Encryption is a pain in the ass, though.
Not on Linux.
Loopback encryption devices FTW


Sorry, I need an OS where I don't spend so many hours a week trying to get it to work right or at all.
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TimeLady Victorious

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Re: "Encryption Works!"
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2010, 12:47:03 AM »

We'll all be using Tor somewhere along the line, or trying to connect to private mesh networks that MIGHT have a tenuous Internet connection - especially when Obama flips the kill switch to turn the Internet from a series of tubes to a big truck.
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BobRobertson

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Re: "Encryption Works!"
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2010, 08:00:02 AM »

Sorry, I need an OS where I don't spend so many hours a week trying to get it to work right or at all.

Which is my experience on Windows.

Use what works for you.

I believe that TruCrypt has a function much like the encrypted loop-back and encrypted partition.

At some point I'll do a really encrypted system: a small boot partition and the rest of the disk (including swap) encrypted, but not use the boot partition. Boot off of a USB key. Maybe even make it so that the boot partition doesn't have the right encryption system. Just to mess with the goons who would install a sniffer in the boot partition and wait for me to hand then my key.

Anyway, I'd like to keep a full set of checksums for the honeypot boot partition and have an "after boot check to see if anyone's been messing with my system" routine.

That's how the Feds got some supposed mafia types that were using PGP, they just put in a keystroke sniffer.
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"I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, April 26th 1820
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