< When AntiVirus was the Virus | SuperGenPass >
The basic methodology is to approach the encrypted device... and punch the owner in the face until they decrypt the device. The premium service will have this punch-up upgraded to a rubber hosing, and the platinum version will get you some drugs and a $5 wrench. Unlike our competitors, you won't need to involve a notoriously unreliable Latino third-party stereotype.
Okay, jokes aside. Joanna Rutkowska, who has done some hardcore stuff in the past, has done a write-up and released a tool showing how easily the passphrase for a full-disk encryption product can be retrieved by an example person who has access to your physical laptop, even if powered off and without requiring the complexity of coldboot attacks. While she acknowledges that "the concept behind the Evil Maid Attack is neither new, nor l33t in any way" the amount of non-critical coverage it has gotten has irked me.
Her scenario involves someone who not only has access to your laptop without you being around, but has repeat access to your living space, and if they choose, *you*. Of the one squillion options available to a thief at this point, some complicated boot-loader jiggery pokery (not to mention extensions to support other full disk encryption software, AV evasion and the inevitable arms-race/maintenance overhead these things turn into) seems far less viable than beating it out of the victim, or even poisoning their toothpaste and only giving them the antidote once decryption has occurred.
Arguably, actually beating someone exposes you to all sorts of potential law enforcement nastiness, like getting ID'ed in a perp walk. However, if you are going to train an army of maids, *and* have them chain gang laptops out of hotels, you can still get ID'ed by a maid, and you're setting up a fairly big bread trail to your operation by involving that many people, and stealing that much stuff. In short; No, this does not provide you some magic-anti-police ability to scale the theft and is less violent but no more effective than our platinum wrench service.
In future, please don't look to encryption to stop bullets, or pretend that when it doesn't something interesting has happened.