Penetrating encrypted evidence

Penetrating encrypted evidence
• Writer : Hank Wolfe
• University of Otago, Computer Security, Forensics,
Information Science Department, New Zealand
• Presentation : Digital Investigation, 2004
• Reporter : Sparker
• Every investigator will encounter suspect hard
drives and other media that has been encrypted.
• The accused will be asked to provide the keys
necessary for decryption of data files or entire
hard drives.
• The final decision, however, rests with the
There are some technical methods to obtain
the relevant keys
• Social engineering.
• Surveillance.
Social engineering
• A divorce settlement case.
• The ethics of the profession.
• Once the integrity is compromised, it is
impossible to regain the confidence and
trust held before..
Social engineering (cont.)
• Before attempting to use the decrypt
software tools.
• Every has something that is important to
them, we use this technique to guess
• It does not always work but it is always
worth a try.
Social engineering (cont.)
• Often-simple methods can be very effective.
• It is human nature to create keys and passwords
that are easily remembered.
• As forensic investigators, it is part of our job to
find out all that we can about the accused and
his/her background.
• A criminal case involving child pornography.
• A series of tools like D.I.R.T. or STARR or
KeyKatch or KeyGhost or the Password Recovery
Toolkit and others.
• They are installed on the target machine by
various means (a virus, a Trojan, … and so on).
• These tools can intercept ans record keystrokes
among other things and transmit this information
in encrypted form back to forensic computers.
Surveillance (contd.)
• The advantage of these tools is that they are flexible and
can capture, based on the way they have been configured,
many different kinds of information-including but not
limited to keystrokes.
• Electromagnetic transition emanate from all electric
devices. With the right equipment, it is possibleto receive
those emanations and convert them back into their source
• The emanations can be acquired from a reasonable distance
covertly and converted back into the key codes.
Surveillance (contd.)
• The contents of a computer display unit can also
be captured, interpreted and viewed by someone
other than the operator at a distance (Van Eck, or
• Using this surveillance technique requires six
equipments consists of, antenna, receiver,
amplifier, sync generator, a multi-sync monitor,
snd recorder. .
• We all need to share our successful techniques
and learn from each other and accept that we do
not have all of the answers.
• The techniques described have been and will
continue to be successful and should be regarded
as just another set of tools for the standard
forensic tool kit..