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Full Disk Encryption Hard For Law Enforcement To Crack 575

If you'd rather keep your data private, take heart: disk encryption is a lot harder to break than techno-thriller movies and TV shows make it out to be, to the chagrin of some branches of law enforcement. MrSeb writes with word of a paper titled "The growing impact of full disk encryption on digital forensics" [abstract here to paywalled article] that illustrates just how difficult it is. According to the paper, co-authored by a member of US-CERT, "[T]here are three main problems with full disk encryption (FDE): First, evidence-gathering goons can turn off the computer (for transportation) without realizing it's encrypted, and thus can't get back at the data (unless the arrestee gives up his password, which he doesn't have to do); second, if the analysis team doesn't know that the disk is encrypted, it can waste hours trying to read something that's ultimately unreadable; and finally, in the case of hardware-level disk encryption, tampering with the device can trigger self-destruction of the data. The paper does go on to suggest some ways to ameliorate these issues, but ultimately the researchers aren't hopeful: 'Research is needed to develop new techniques and technology for breaking or bypassing full disk encryption.'"

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.