Microsoft Reacts

By Ryan Naraine  |  Posted 2008-02-26 Print this article Print

Microsoft has already reacted to the Princeton/EFF discovery with a note stressing that the claims against Vista do not point to vulnerabilities.

"[They] simply detail the fact that contents that remain in a computer's memory can be accessed by a determined third party if the system is running," Microsoft said in a statement sent to eWEEK.

"BitLocker is an effective solution to help safeguard personal and private data on mobile PCs and provides a number of protection options that meet different end-user needs," the Microsoft spokesperson explained. "Like all full volume encryption products, BitLocker has a key-in memory when the system is running in order to encrypt/decrypt data, on the fly, for the drive/s in use. If a system is in 'sleep mode' it is, in effect, still running."

Microsoft suggests that the most secure method to use BitLocker is in hibernate mode and with multi-factor authentication.

According to Robert Hensing, a software engineer in Microsoft's SWI (Secure Windows Initiative) team, this class of attack is not new and was actually raised at the 2006 Hack in the Box conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"[It was] definitely known and threat modeled by our guys a long time ago and we've even gone on to release some interesting information in the form of the 'Data Encryption Toolkit for Mobile PCs," Hensing wrote on his personal blog.

He cited an official Microsoft document that provides an overview of how Windows Vista's BitLocker can be used with a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) to mitigate against this attack scenario.


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