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FBI Cracks Florida Man’s TrueCrypt Password

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fbi-cracks-truecrypt-password-encryption-backdoorAccording to recent reporting by South Florida’s Sun Sentinel, the government has managed to crack a TrueCrypt password in the case of Christopher Glenn. Army counterintelligence expert Gerald Parsons noted that in his estimation, it would have taken “billions” of years to do so by traditional methods with current capabilities.

The actual likelihood of the FBI, or anyone, cracking the 30-character password by using brute force or any other technique is incredibly low. More likely, the lengthy password was written somewhere and investigators discovered it, or a backup was left with another party, who disclosed it.

See also: How to Encrypt & Decrypt Any File On Your System (Video Tutorial)

In this case, TrueCrypt was being used to protect stolen e-mails and attachments from an Army official at a base in Soto Cano, Honduras. Glenn worked for Harris Corporation, a computer security contractor who does a lot of work for the government. This was central to the case since Glenn had previously been expelled from a government contracting job in Iraq because of misconduct. He had hacked US government systems to help Iraqi firms win contracts. Further, he and his wife were accused of giving benefits to Iraqis that were supposed to be exclusive to Americans. That particular case, from 2007-2009, did not receive much attention due to its limited scale. Glenn had only injured the government in the amount of around $17,000, investigators have said.

Also read: Florida Bringing Hacking Felony Charges Against 13-Year-Old

In the case of his Honduras work, the motive is unclear for Glenn’s theft and subsequent holding of the contents of the base commander’s classified e-mail account. In January, Glenn did confess and plead guilty to the crime. While it has not been stated publicly, this could have been when Glenn himself disclosed the TrueCrypt password as part of a plea agreement. Yesterday he received 10 years in federal prison. At no point during the investigation has he answered the question on everyone’s mind: why he did it. Instead, prosecutors have focused on the fact that much of the classified information could have been very dangerous to the United States in the wrong hands.

Also read: How to Create a Secure Password

No one from the FBI has publicly claimed to have cracked TrueCrypt, but then again this is not the sort of information the agency would want widely spread. After all, TrueCrypt is still one of the top destinations for anyone looking to encrypt files, for whatever purpose. If criminals continue to rely on it while not knowing it has been broken (the software’s maintenance was discontinued in a long, drawn-out intellectual property dispute), the FBI could see a higher rate of conviction on evidence. The question of whether hacking by the government for the purpose of obtaining evidence violates the 4th amendment will always exist, but if TrueCrypt and other forms of strong encryption start unraveling, it will certainly be a question brought up more often.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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  1. NemEu

    August 6, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    so what really happened? they brute forced the 30 character or discovered it ?

    • Mirco Romanato

      August 6, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      I bet they did a dictionary attack of some sort.
      Usually people use something they are able to memorize.

      • NemEu

        August 6, 2015 at 7:00 pm

        so anyway was bruteforce

        • Steve Bones

          August 18, 2015 at 11:59 pm

          Nope. The sun would go out before a random 30 character pw was brute forced.

      • Steve Bones

        August 18, 2015 at 11:57 pm

        30 character dictionary attack? Doubtful unless it’s “Dick and Dora went up the hill”, which would be cracked in minutes. More likely it was random text which he had to write down because he couldn’t remember it – or a keylogger or other exploit. The recent TC audit was very professional and came up relatively clean, no backdoors.

  2. MikeyTG

    August 7, 2015 at 11:33 am

    My guess is this is a little gubment FUD. They want to imply that truecrypt was cracked so people will stop using it.

    • englishvinal

      August 7, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      My opinion.. YOU are right on!

    • NemEu

      August 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      makes sense, due the latest truecrypt version on oficial website with that strange notice with NSA initials in CamelCase…you know …

    • P. H. Madore

      August 7, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      Or to try and scare people into whatever the new “it” tool is.

    • Robert Genito

      August 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      Trucrypt files have a suspicious area of data that is undocumented and not much information can be found on this mysterious block of data. This combined with the fact that there’s simply just not enough peer review for Trucrypt is the *exact* reason why I do not use Trucrypt. It’s also likely the reason why a 30 character password was easily discovered. Let’s call it a back door 🙂

      • Steve Bones

        August 18, 2015 at 11:44 pm

        Let’s NOT call it a back door 🙂 None of the code in TC is documented. And even better than “peer review”, *all* of the source code has now been audited by NCC Group Inc. with only 2 areas (CryptAcquireContext may silently fail in unusual scenarios & AES Implementation susceptible to cache timing attacks) considered to be high risk – but also extremely high difficulty in attacking. I’m interested in this “suspicious area of data” you talk about because there is no mention of it in the NCC Group audit report. Or are you referring to the very minor issue that there is some “Unauthenticated ciphertext in volume headers” which was found by NCC Group to be very low risk and very high attack sophistication. Please tell us more about this “mysterious block of data”.

  3. englishvinal

    August 7, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    From the available facts, the govt. is full of shysa as usual… “never let a crisis/opportunity go to waste”…and the propaganda machine is spewing “we cracked an uncrackable code”.. ha ha ha.
    Makes people stop using the encryption because they don’t trust it anymore… makes life easier for the goons and mafia… fewer uncrackable codes to mess with.

    • P. H. Madore

      August 7, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      I recommend this as a TL;DR on my article. 😀

      • P. H. Madore

        August 7, 2015 at 7:34 pm

        Although, I would add that the fuzz most likley has their own new little freecrypt program.

        I will say that SourceForge had some weird data issues a few weeks back, still recovering IIRC. Dunno how that would even play into it, but what if they needed to doctor up a repo version history, or completely rewrite one, on a certain little crypto program that another thing was based on, and then when that thing went upstream, well, the bugs in the water, which fish will catch him first? It’ll be a little one, who will be little heard, except on little sites like this one. (I hope.)

        Anyway I think that would be the more likley motive: get people using whatever the top google result will be for “freecrypting.”

        Those who really understand cryptography on a basic level understand that all of it really begins with you. If your password was crackable at 30-characters, it had to be a phrase. IF.

  4. concerndcitizen

    August 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    These “publicly available” crypto solutions are NOT as secure as people think. Combine some reasonable guesses with known information and it narrows down the number of guesses you have to make. There are more shortcuts than people imagine. The key gen for many original BTC wallets used SSL and the time in seconds, not nanoseconds, you can noodle over that for a bit. This is no big surprise.

    • P. H. Madore

      August 7, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      I’m just surprised that someone who knows what BTC is actually buys, for a second, that the FBI, the jokers who can’t even secure the White House (IDC if it’s not their department…), had actually hacked TrueCrypt.

      • Steve Bones

        August 18, 2015 at 11:54 pm

        Yep, I’m with ya. Until quantum computing, it’s sloppy housekeeping (written passwords esp. for 30 character pw’s like this guy’s, caught with live and open notebook, notebook ram scraped for plaintext key, hardware keylogger placed inside the notebook, one of the state sanctioned software keyloggers, JS/activex/flash exploits, etc and etcetera).

    • wonky tonky

      August 8, 2015 at 7:14 am

      thats why i roll my private key with dice 🙂

  5. solid12345

    August 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Notice this comes weeks after James Comey was whining about encryption on the Senate floor.

    • P. H. Madore

      August 7, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Let’s hope a Senator gets him to clarify what happened next time. “So, didn’t you crack one in Florida? Why do we need a new law and all this money if you can crack them? Man up and crack the passwords like a good little boy, now.”

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Crypto-Security Testnet Surpasses Key Milestones

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Security and has been combined with micro-compucomputing are a combination which ascended to greatly relevant, both economically and financially, since the early days of commercial internet technology, the John McAfee associated era of anti-virus software, and fears of ‘millennium-bug’ (‘Y2K’)-induced societal meltdowns.

As a market player, ‘cybersecurity‘ is hailed for its continuedvalue and growth, with recent implementations advancing in tandem with technological development. With ‘blockchain’ having become a key buzzword in recent years, it comes as little surprise that digital security providers have been attempting to identify and provide protection against cryptocurrency related scams.

Examples of these include ‘malware‘ AKA ‘malicious software’. They are often created with the aim of illicitly subvert the processing power of the victim’s device for use towards the mining of cryptocurrencies, or lock and potentially delete highly sensitive data (such as Ransomware’).

Cybersecurity and Blockchain

Crypto attacks can affect almost any person or institution: from private wallets and exchanges, to cryptocurrency operators, and even sometimes unsuspecting users of internet browsers with no relation to blockchain based services.

In an article published at CCN in August 2018, I wrote about the large prolificity and news coverage of cyber-attacks carried out against cryptocurrency organisations: with a majority of them involving the theft of high-value quantities of tokens or sensitive data.

Key points raised in the piece include the identification of wallets and exchanges as high-value targets for potential thieves, as well as a discussion surrounding a study of over 1000 participants in which none of the top exchanges were “lauded for security”.

As cybersecurity has been exposed as a fatal flaw in the unauthorised access / theft access of finances and data, it has also drawn a spotlight on the various methods employed by the companies which suffer these attacks.

Middleware, Wear and Tear

Some teams attempt to protect their data and finances through the creation and implementation of their own proprietary cybersecurity solutions whilst others seek the tender of others,

‘Middleware’ is nothing new and has long been utilised as a means of implementing third-party solutions as a means of shifting professional a legislative liability regarding essential functions of a brand technology.

It’s a creation by third party product / service providers that sits between external and internal code in order to facilitate functions or protections.

Decentralized Security Testnet

REMME is a project harnessing blockchain technology to create a distributed cybersecurity solution for enterprises.

Its now-released testnet has already demonstrated the efficacy of storing hashed Public Key Infrastructure certificates on the blockchain, and with 300 pilot program participants signed up, REMME isn’t short of applicants eager to trial its distributed identity and access management solution.

‘Distributed Identity and Access management’ (IAMd) and ‘Public Key Infrastructure’ requests (PKId) count amongst two of the primary features of the proprietary REMChain testchain network infrastructure. Both claims of which have come from CEO Alex Momot, who additionally praised “The interoperability of the public blockchain and sidechains”.

Additional features include the ‘REMchain block explorer’ – ‘node monitoring’ (connected to five nodes worldwide) – REMME WebAuth demo application.

While a pilot program reportedly attracting over 300 global enterprise applicants, REMME feels confident about the future of their long terms plans: which include full integration existing enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, Accounting software etc.).

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 12 rated posts




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MyEtherWallet Compromised in Security Breach; Users Urged to Move Tokens

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Popular cryptocurrency service MyEtherWallet (MEW) is urging users to move their tokens after the platform succumbed to its second cyber attack of the year. As the company reported earlier, hackers targeted MEW’s popular VPN service in an attempt to steal cryptocurrency.

Hola VPN Users Compromised

Rather than target MEW directly, hackers took control of the Hola VPN service, which claims nearly 50 million users. For the next five hours, MEW users who had the Hola chrome extension installed and running on their computer were exposed.

MEW took to Twitter to urge users to move their funds immediately.

“Urgent! If you have Hola chrome extension installed and used MEW within the last 24 hrs, please transfer your funds immediately to a brand new account!” the company said. It added the following message shortly thereafter:”We received a report that suggest Hola chrome extension was hacked for approximately 5 hrs and the attack was logging your activity on MEW.”

At the time of writing, MEW’s Twitter feed had no further updates.

MyEtherWallet is used to access cryptocurrency wallets, where users can send and receive tokens from other people.

The company reportedly told TechCrunch that the attack originated from a Russian-based IP address.

“The safety and security of MEW users is our priority. We’d like to remind our users that we do not hold their personal data, including passwords so they can be assured that the hackers would not get their hands on that information if they have not interacted with the Hola chrome extension in the past day,” MEW said, as quoted by TechCrunch.

It’s not yet clear how many users were compromised in the attack or how much, if any, was stolen from their wallets. MEW suffered a similar incident in February after a DNS attack wiped out $365,000 worth of cryptocurrency from users’ accounts.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise

The attack on MEW came less than 24 hours after Hacked reported another major cyber breach involving Bancor, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange. The security breach compromised roughly $23.5 million worth of digital currency, including Ethereum, NPXS and BNT, Bancor’s native token.

Last month, a pair of South Korean exchanges fell prey to cyber criminals, prompting local regulators to expedite their approval of new cryptocurrency laws.

It has been estimated that a total of $761 million has been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of the year, up from $266 million in all of 2017. That figure is expected to rise to $1.5 billion this year.

CipherTrace, the company behind the estimates, told Reuters last week that stolen cryptocurrencies are mainly used to launder money and aid criminals in concealing their identities.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 647 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Mt. Gox vs. Bithumb: That Was Then, This Is Now

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Bithumb now shares something in common with the Tokyo-based shuttered bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — both suffered a hack on about the same date, June 19. It’s a club that no exchange wants to belong to and that Bithumb happened on the seven-year anniversary of Mt. Gox’s maiden attack has to be more than an eerie coincidence.

It’s a stark reminder of the risks involved with keeping funds on an unregulated exchange, vulnerabilities that cost South Korea’s Bithumb some $36.6 million in digital cash and Mt. Gox $450 million in hacked bitcoin and its future. The Mt. Gox theft unfolded over a series of hacks that culminated in 2014. Though it’s still early on in the Bithumb hack, it appears the South Korean exchange will recover from the security breach. So what do we know now that we didn’t on June 19, 2011?

Then vs. Now

Former Coinbase official Nick Tomaino, who is also the founder of crypto fund 1 confirmation, reflected on the Mt. Gox hack in what proved to be a prescient tweet given the Bithumb attack that was about to surface.

The thing to note about Mt. Gox is that the Japan-based exchange in 2011 controlled most of the BTC trading volume, approximately three-quarters of it by average estimates — more if you ask Tomaino. Since bitcoin fever caught on in 2017, there are more than 500 cryptocurrency exchanges on which trading volume is shared. Binance boasts the highest trading volume and captures nearly 15% of bitcoin trading. It’s much less than Mt. Gox days but still a little high.

The other thing to note is that the Mt. Gox hack or actually hacks, as there were multiple attacks on the exchange over several years, was a mysterious event that was shrouded in controversy and mistrust of a key executive. Bithumb, on the other hand, confronted the hack seemingly right away on Twitter and has not let any grass grow under its feet in the interim, which is a key difference in the way Mt. Gox was handled.

Also, the bitcoin price didn’t tank in response to the Bithumb hack. It traded lower for a while, but less than 24 hours it was back in the green, which is a reflection of the fact that bitcoin trading is no longer dependent on a single exchange.

Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin (LTC), the No. 6 cryptocurrency by market cap, was among the first to respond to the Bithumb hack. He tweeted:

Indeed, Bithumb does expect to be able to cover the losses via their reserves.

Crypto Security

It’s still early on in Bithumb’s security breach, and more details are sure to emerge in time. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to use the hack as an opportunity to examine the security of your cryptocurrency investment portfolio. There are several hardware wallet options out there for you to choose from — whether it’s Trezor or Ledger Nano S, to name a couple — and as Charlie Lee advised, “only keep on exchange coins that you are actively trading.”

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 69 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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