attacking truecrypt

Article on tool that attacks truecrypt encrypted containers. TrueCrypt is used to encrypt sets of files (encapsulated in containers which are mounted as volumes, or drive letters in Windows) or partitions, including the system partition (meaning TC can be used to encrypt everything, including the operating system itself).

From the article:

…TCHead can run through a word list. Unlike cracking tool John the Ripper, however, it is not able to systematically vary these details by, for example, converting lower case letters to upper case or converting letters to leetspeak.
Zoom Still faster than doing it by hand – TCHead tests out different passwords TCHead also carries out this kind of dictionary attack very, very slooooooowly. In tests on a fairly fast computer, the tool required about a minute to run through 1,000 candidate passwords.

To give an idea here, this is incredibly slow and not very impressive. Or to put it another way, TrueCrypt’s implementation is impressive, as the password-to-key algorithm makes it expensive to try to brute force the passphrase. If a decent machine can only test about 1000 passphrases per minute, it would literally take an eternity to crack even a simplistic passphrase using a common pattern (a couple words followed by some numbers). The TCHead software is limited in other ways, in that it uses word lists and doesn’t do common substitutions.

The usual warning here though:  attacks get better and not worse. The impractical attack today becomes the optimized and effective attack a year from now. Still, based on this article, I’m left with the feeling that TrueCrypt is a well-implemented cryptographic solution for the time being.

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