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Story of Truecrypt

If you remember last decade, you probably remember an enigmatic disk encryption utility Truecrypt. Some strange design choices, an eventual Linux port, a wealth of unheard of features and rather paranoid design features, as well as an unusual license that didn't play nice with Free software norms.

Its developers remained pseudonymous, something not so unusual back then, and didn't interact much except developing Truecrypt.

And then one day the music stopped. A warning noting that the program had flaws, to updated to the latest decrypt only, and migrate data was given that immediately threw off red flags. It was a very obvious sign to do something else with data.

Truecrypt was survived by its volume container format TCRYPT. The program was forked into a few other viable projects including the even more paranoid Veracrypt. Entirely Free software implementations such as tcplay sprung up for operating TCRYPT partitions.

Eventually, after many years, cryptsetup, the mainstream linux encrypted volume support added support for TCRYPT volumes. Truecrypt might be dead and buried, but its container format, with all its features live on.

So why was Truecrypt? As we later came to know, the creator of Truecrypt was unmasked as a mid-level drug trafficker. No better inspiration for writing decent security as if your data is actually at risk. Did the hidden volume actually work? We don't know. But we do know he flipped states witness.

We also know after he flipped, as soon as he was released from prison, he updated Truecrypt telling everyone to abandon the project. He might have given up drug dealers, but he didn't sell out the FOSS community.(also now, cannabis is legal)

@GI_Jack I had a hidden TrueCrypt volume and one day the file system was gone and I was unable to recover anything. Everything gone.... I remember TrueCrypt!! :ablobsadpats:

@poncio Did you write to the outer partition?

That was a known flaw. It was sharing space with the outer, non-hidden partition. If that gets written to, it can overwrite the hidden partition. It has to be like that, or the hidden partition can be found.

The technique is to create the encrypted drive, then write decoy stuff to the outer partition, and then use the inner hidden one, and never use the outer again. If you do, you risk overwriting it.

@GI_Jack I learned about that flaw later as I did research, but by that time, everything was gone. On top of this, it was an external drive in a USB enclosure, what made it even less reliable.... that (painfully helped me to understand the 3-2-1 backup rule!! 😅​

@GI_Jack
What's the status of VeraCryp nowadays? It still has interesting features (plausible deniability in particular)

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hackers.town

A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. Keep it fairly clean please. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.