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Privacy Encryption Security

How Long to Crack an 'Encrypted' HD? 733

Posted by Cliff
from the incarcerated-without-indictment dept.
brainburger asks: "In the UK, Tony Blair has recently lost a parliametary vote to allow the police to hold terrorist suspects for 90 days without trial. One of the justifications the police gave for the extension from 14 days to 90 days was that they need the extra 76 days to decrypt the computer hard-drives of suspects. This has been seen by some as the only compelling reason to allow 90 days. The time-limit has been extended to 28 days instead, but Tony Blair insists 90 days is required. Are there really any encryption systems that cannot be cracked in 28 days, but which can be cracked in 90? Aside from the not-much-discussed issue that the police can no longer interrogate a suspect after they are charged, I suspect the police meant unencrypted machines. What do you think?"
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How Long to Crack an 'Encrypted' HD?

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  • by denissmith (31123) * on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:13PM (#14004553)
    But remember the requirement - 90 days for the POLICE to crack the encryption- I don't know why they don't just make it 'indefinite detention'.
    • by jd (1658) <imipak @ y a h o o .com> on Friday November 11, 2005 @01:47AM (#14005366) Homepage Journal
      I dunno - Sting might be really good at maths.
    • by DarkEdgeX (212110) on Friday November 11, 2005 @02:37AM (#14005561) Journal
      I've seen CSI, I know it really only takes a few minutes to decrypt a criminals hard drive.
      • Re:Before you answer (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Shisha (145964)

        Very good point :-)). But surely the terrorist are not stupid and if they know that the detention period would be now 90 days, then they'll use longer keys, encrypt things a few times, etc. hence bringing the time to decrypt the hard drive to something more like 1 year.



        Would we then be prepared to support detention for one year without a charge?!? I know I won't. The police simply has to work around the hard drive encryption, when collecting evidence.



    • Probably more like: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by temojen (678985) on Friday November 11, 2005 @02:55AM (#14005641) Journal
      90 days in jail will ruin you financialy (can't go to work, so can't pay bills), so it's in your best interest to give them the passphrase and hire a lawyer while you still are solvent. Plus, they can tell the other inmates that they think you have kiddie porn on your computer and they'll let the inmates do the torturing.

      90 days won't give them enough time to crack the key, but it will make you think really hard about giving them the passphrase so they let you go.
  • How about Safehouse? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kriston (7886) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:15PM (#14004565) Homepage Journal
    I'd love to see how Safehouse from www.pcdynamics.com [pcdynamics.com] will do. Encrypt file-based real drive volumes with AES, Twofish, Blowfish, 3DES, and DES.

    Kris

    • by Dr Caleb (121505) <thedarkknight.hushmail@com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:46PM (#14004740) Homepage Journal
      It's not how long it takes to crack, it's how long it takes to make a copy. Then cracking can be at your lesuire.
      • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:55PM (#14004785) Homepage
        It's not how long it takes to crack, it's how long it takes to make a copy. Then cracking can be at your lesuire.
        Probably an insightful comment, and any single drive can be copied in a few hours. Though the police might have a hard time copying 100+ TB of drives ...

        But really, the problem is that the police don't like to release their suspects before they're sure they're not guilty of something. Even if the drives couldn't be copied without decrypting them first, the police could just take the hardware and release it when they're ready, but release the suspect quickly. But they don't want to do that -- he could be a terrorist! (or he could be totally innocent, but of course police don't make that sort of mistake.)

        Though personally I think the 90 days thing is just a crock. It's also obviously just those pesky civil rights that are keeping law enforcement from turning this world into a paradise without crime, terrorism or software piracy overnight -- or at least that's sometimes how they seem to act.

      • Exactly, I don't think "crack" has anything to do with cryptography at all. The beaurocracy just wants a bit more time for things to work through its system. Crime labs always have backlogs, computer forensics investigators are busy, the drives have to be sent out, etc. To think this says anything about key lengths or something is just silly IMHO.
    • This is slashdot. We like free software!

      http://www.truecrypt.org/ [truecrypt.org]

      Encrypted disks, crossplatform (win/lin).

    • by tamnir (230394)
      In true Slashdot spirit, you should have mentioned the Open Source solution: TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org].

      I have been burned before: I will never use a closed source software again for data encryption. The tinfoil hat crowd will worry about the possible NSA backdoor or weak implementation. More practically, I worry about the developer going out of business and the next windows update breaking my encryption software, leaving me high and dry with no other recourse but to downgrade or reinstall my system, get my data back, and s
  • No more AES (Score:5, Funny)

    by Smarty2120 (776415) * on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:15PM (#14004567)
    I'd better not use AES to encrypt my hard drive or I'd guess they can hold me without charge until the sun burns out.
    • Re:No more AES (Score:3, Informative)

      by PhunkySchtuff (208108)
      Whoops. I'm on Mac OS X. I went into the System Preferences -> Security pref pane. I clicked on the button that said "Turn On FileVault" I waited a minute or two while the hard drive churned and voila!
      Unfortunately, for law enforcement etc, my entire home folder is now encrypted with AES128 encryption. Yep, all my email, all my documents, all my application preferences, even my entire MP3 music library (except that I went to lengths to not have this encrypted by symlinking it to somewhere else) is now A
      • Re:No more AES (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mpe (36238)
        Unfortunately, for law enforcement etc, my entire home folder is now encrypted with AES128 encryption. Yep, all my email, all my documents, all my application preferences, even my entire MP3 music library (except that I went to lengths to not have this encrypted by symlinking it to somewhere else) is now AES128 encrypted. With a strong passphrase. It's really that easy.

        One point about encryption is that you should encrypt everything. Otherwise you are saying to any evesdropper "A is important, B is trivia
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:15PM (#14004569)
    is that if cracking encrypted hard disks is really that important, it would be better to simply give police enough computer power to crack the encryption in less time and avoid the civil liberties issues. Of course, giving the police that much computer power will eventually guarantee even more civil liberties issues.
    • This whole thing is a canard. It's a fucking joke. It's just an excuse to hold people without charges (and possibly send them off to get tortured).

      If you need time to crack the hard drive YOU FUCKING TAKE THE HARD DRIVE!. Why do you need to hold the person for 90 days when you can simply take his hard drive and hold it for as long as you want. Look at the Scott Peterson case. They came and took his car, and pretty much emptied his house and held it for over a year while he was awaiting trial. Which brings
    • Computer power (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday November 11, 2005 @12:36AM (#14005008) Homepage Journal
      Any cipher that can be cracked given "enough computer power", for any practical value of "enough", is broken. Utterly broken, obsolete, not fit for use, an ex-cipher, singing in the choir unusable. DES, for example.

      Guessing a passphrase is believable, though. That might take large-but-feasible computer resources. English text has only one point something bits of entropy per character on the usual estimate. Who has a sixty-character passphrase?
    • by rtb61 (674572)
      Better a new worm, the 28 day holiday virus, that creates a series of psuedo encrypted files that contain nothing, they just have suggestive file names and are hidden from the user, how long can they lock you up for not knowing a password ;-).
    • Police work SHOULD be hard. It SHOULD be time consuming. It SHOULD be inconvienent for those performing it. Because when they must expend effort and experience inconvienence they are only going to take the time to scrutinize people who they actually believe had done something. Otherwise they'll be doing it just to pass the time.

      Every hoop that the police must jump though will save us all from harrassment.

      LK
  • by jarich (733129) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:16PM (#14004578) Homepage Journal
    Just cracking it isn't enough. They have to then sift through gigs of data to look for evidence. And that's ignoring stegnography.
    • by needacoolnickname (716083) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:30PM (#14004643)
      If they didn't stop to look at all the naked pictures I am sure they could get through it much quicker.
    • by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:55PM (#14004786)
      So you're saying I should make the volume unencrypted so they don't hold me long, but use AES encrpyted data stored stenographically within my porn collection so they can't get at my secrets?

      Why, that might almost work...
    • Just cracking it isn't enough. They have to then sift through gigs of data to look for evidence.

      Mmm...I suspect the issue isn't "cracking"; I think the story poster was hinting at this with the last sentence or two. Chances are "crack" is being used liberally to present it using "terms" something Joe Q Legislator and John Z Public can understand. I would bet it is mostly analysis (or as you put it, "sift through".) Chances are serious criminal investigation units already have custom (ie distributed to

  • Are they insane?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Blymie (231220) * on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:16PM (#14004582)
    1: Today's terrorism is different because attacks do not have political aims and are designed to cause mass casualties, with no warning, involving suicide bombers

    Retired senior judge Gerald Butler states: "The mere fact a threat is "completely different" is, of itself, no justification for an extension in the detention laws. But it is true we face a new and terrifying threat in this country."


    Not politically motivated?!

    What on earth are these people talking about? Good gried, "GET OUT THE MIDDLE EAST, WEST!" sounds _very_ political to me! "STOP MESSING IN OUR AFFAIRS", sounds political to me!

    These attacks are completely and totally politically motivated.

    The militants in the Middle East, right or wrong, is ABSOLUTELY, COMPLETELY, and TOTALLY in the middle of a political struggle with the West.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not sure that such is the case when you consider that the general flow of Islam is into Western Europe and those who are migrating are demanding cultural concessions for their "special" way of life. Behold France which is currently in upheaval because unsatisfied Muslims are striking out at the national culture which has been keeping them down, nevermind the fact that the Muslims themselves segregate themselves from the rest of society by refusing to conform to the culture into which they immigrated.

      No
      • by SacredNaCl (545593) on Friday November 11, 2005 @01:44AM (#14005355) Journal
        I don't think you'll find any reasonable person saying to kick them back to Africa and the Mideast. But you will find that there is a strong resentment among reasonable people towards these freeloaders and complainers who have infiltrated the country and are suddenly trying to turn it into something that it has never been. Concessions should not be forthcoming only from the existing populace. The immigrants should also be prepared to adopt some cultural changes if they wish to migrate.

        I think you will find plenty of reasonable people advocating the position that multiculturalism does not work, leads to conflict, and in the case of N. Africans leads to a good deal of crime as well.

        I can fully understand Arabs & Muslims not wanting us in their countries, just as easily as I can understand large number in the US not wanting the invasion of Mexicans & Haitians we have, or people in France not wanting the invasion of Africans they have.

        After people get done shouting "racist", "xenophobe", "blah blah blah" ... and actually sit down and look at the data, then take a look around the world where its been tried, then take a look back at history and see the ruins of civilizations that thought it was a grand way to go... A fair & reasoned arguement can be made upon the facts, historical record, and current trials in quite a few diverse cultures that it weakens the society invaded & often destroys it.

        It isn't a problem if the people coming over are prepared to assimilate into that culture, speak a common language, share basic cultural values. But when you get large numbers that do not share those values, will not assimilate, will not speak a common language - you end up effectively with two disparate peoples trying to share a single state. If it goes on long enough, you usually see two state solutions offered, and its rarely a peaceful transition to that point.

        Given history, I find nothing unreasonable in the arguement that France and French people may be unwilling to continue the current course: to abandon their cities endlessly and watch them turn into the equivalent of Detroit, and to face a civil war down the road which likely splits the state.

          I think the government lacks the backbone to bring real solutions to this problem to the table and will return to appeasement rather quickly, but it is the real issue and not the immediate economic issues. Their only way out of this may well be a very radically different immigration policy, and deporting those who are unwilling & unable to assimilate and become productive members of the society and culture they have.

        The cost for multicultural experiements which don't pan out is quite high indeed.

        • by mark2003 (632879)
          Couple of points in response to this b*ll*cks.

          Firstly, I would like to see these examples of civilisations ruined by multi-culturalism. In the past most countries insisted on any immigrants adopting their own rules, for example Europe in the middle ages with their pogroms against Jews, medieval Spain under the second wave of Moors then fundamentalist Catholics, Rome where all non-Romans were not citizens, medieval England where Catholics were forced to pray in Anglican churches under threat of fines or ex
        • After people get done shouting "racist", "xenophobe", "blah blah blah" ... and actually sit down and look at the data, then take a look around the world where its been tried, then take a look back at history and see the ruins of civilizations that thought it was a grand way to go... A fair & reasoned arguement can be made upon the facts, historical record, and current trials in quite a few diverse cultures that it weakens the society invaded & often destroys it.

          What data? You aren't offering any d

        • I can fully understand Arabs & Muslims not wanting us in their countries

          That has NOTHING to do with anything. No "terrorist" has said "all white folk please leave". They want us to stop messing around in their POLICAL AFFAIRS. They want us to stop toppling democracies and replacing them with puppet governments, who we then arm and support as they carry out their war crimes. In Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and many other states (not just in the middle east), we have backed the "bad guy" whenever it is deem

        • by @madeus (24818)
          It isn't a problem if the people coming over are prepared to assimilate into that culture, speak a common language, share basic cultural values. But when you get large numbers that do not share those values, will not assimilate, will not speak a common language - you end up effectively with two disparate peoples trying to share a single state. If it goes on long enough, you usually see two state solutions offered, and its rarely a peaceful transition to that point.

          No, that's not how you end up at all - that
      • Behold France which is currently in upheaval because unsatisfied Muslims are striking out at the national culture which has been keeping them down, nevermind the fact that the Muslims themselves segregate themselves from the rest of society by refusing to conform to the culture into which they immigrated.

        Actually, the riots in France are not motivated on religious grounds. The riots are as a result of huge economic disadvantage, exploitation and unemployment in those communities which are rioting. This has come about because of racism and bigotry in France, not because of religion. The majority of the rioters are not even religious.

        The Muslims are not rioting. The poor are rioting. Quite a lot of people will try and distract you from this fact, especially in France, where the poor rioting has a long and well documented history of toppling governments.
    • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:34PM (#14004666) Homepage
      No, no, terrorists are just trying to kill us because they're evil, there's no reason they do it, it's just their evil muslim way. Didn't you get the memo?
    • by defile (1059) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:41PM (#14004716) Homepage Journal

      Not politically motivated?!

      The politician that acknowledges that terrorists are politically motivated would be accepting responsibility for provoking violent retaliation. Much better for their careers if terrorists are portrayed as driven by some kind of insane freedom-hating bloodlust. This way they're more like earthquakes, and who can stop earthquakes? No one.

  • What do I think? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rezza (677520) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:18PM (#14004587)
    I think it's a bullshit excuse, that's what I think. With encryption algorithms, we're talking orders of magnitude, and most algorithms that can't be bruteforced in 28 days will take longer than 90. This is just a shitty excuse to get joe public on Tony's side.
  • by CompuSwerve (792986) <jarizzo@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:18PM (#14004589)
    If you want an unreadable hard drive, you can forget about blowfish, twofish, MD5, SHA, and every other cryptographic solution. There is only one way to do it and one number to remember: 1.21 gigawatts.
  • by Rikus (765448) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:20PM (#14004596)
    Are there really any encryption systems that cannot be cracked in 28 days, but which can be cracked in 90?

    Probably, but since encrypted hard drives usually involve a passphrase being converted into a key of suitable length by one-way hash algorithms, why not crack the passphrase instead of the actual key? Even with 256-bit AES (or something like it), a weak passphrase-based key is probably one of the easier ways to go after the data. Of course, if the suspect carries their completely random key around on a USB drive of some sort, that's a different matter.
    • by mhore (582354) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:44PM (#14004728)
      Probably, but since encrypted hard drives usually involve a passphrase being converted into a key of suitable length by one-way hash algorithms, why not crack the passphrase instead of the actual key? Even with 256-bit AES (or something like it), a weak passphrase-based key is probably one of the easier ways to go after the data. Of course, if the suspect carries their completely random key around on a USB drive of some sort, that's a different matter.

      I wish I could mod you up. Very true. This is something I've thought about. Let's say I'm using GPG or something like that. If the Feds come after my files and I've got my secret key lying around on my computer, or even somewhere easy to find, I think it'd be much easier just to crack the passphrase -- because really, there are common things a lot of people do for passwords. Replacing letters by numbers, adding #, !, @, alternating upper-lower case, etc. In the end, for most people, the password is something that is easy to remember, because if it's not, you're either going to have to have a great memory, or write it down somewhere. With this in mind, wouldn't cracking the passphrase be feasible in a smaller amount of time than if it were just brute forced? I honestly don't know -- I'm largely ignorant in that area, but it intrigues me nonetheless.

      (I am aware, for the record, that brute forcing a password of any real length... e.g. even 6 or 7 chars long... requires an extraordinary amount of combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols... but if we can group those combinations into smaller units, don't we reduce the number?)

      Mike.

      • (I am aware, for the record, that brute forcing a password of any real length... e.g. even 6 or 7 chars long... requires an extraordinary amount of combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols... but if we can group those combinations into smaller units, don't we reduce the number?)

        No. 6 or 7 characters * 8bit/char = 48-56 bits at most. Because so many special signs are hard to reach, you can usually get away with 6bit, so 36-42 bits. That is insufficient to prevent any serious brute force attempt. A stron
  • by The Ape With No Name (213531) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:22PM (#14004603) Homepage
    f439f4af0cd24d0d07144ec2f6853d2f
    • Re:The answer is.... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dwonis (52652) *
      That's *an* answer, but it's not the *ultimate* answer, which of course is a1d0c6e83f027327d8461063f4ac58a6.
      • Re:The answer is.... (Score:3, Informative)

        by chongo (113839) *
        FYI: a1d0c6e83f027327d8461063f4ac58a6 is the ASCII hex MD5 hash of the ASCII string "42". Therefore, if that string had been your hard drive, then your hard drive would have been tracked in near zero time. :-)

        Back to the question: "How Long to Crack an 'Encrypted' HD?": it all depends on how well it is done. It also depends on where the disk key is stored. It is easier to crack a drive if the key is kept on the drive or left up to lazy humans to type in each time.

        I'm not kidding about the last point.

  • by dcapel (913969) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:23PM (#14004611) Homepage
    How long does it take the police to figure out that my drive is not corrupted, it just isn't running Windows.
  • by weharc (852974) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:25PM (#14004619) Homepage
    Come on, I've seen them decrypt files and hard drives in a matter of minutes on 24. What are the pommy police up to, maybe they need to start watching it for tips.
  • by defile (1059) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:31PM (#14004649) Homepage Journal

    The United Kingon approaches counter-terrorism as part of a criminal investigation and has to deal with due process of law. Hence the debate over extending detention from 14 days to 90 days.

    The United States approaches counter-terrorism as military action and the President signs an executive order that allows for indefinite detainment of suspects.

    Fascinating. The UK has much more experience dealing with domestic terrorism -- did they originally overreact as well or are the two circumstances different from the get-go?

  • DMCA? (Score:3, Funny)

    by killtherat (177924) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:48PM (#14004747)
    So they are attempting to crack encryption of a device that contain copyright'ed material (if this guy saved his email, then anything he wrote should be automatically copyrighted). Isn't this a violation of the DMCA?
    I know I'm probably missing some technicality, but it's a fun thought argument.
  • by Kaemaril (266849) on Friday November 11, 2005 @12:07AM (#14004849)

    Hold on. Anyone remember the Regulation of Investigatory Powers 2000 [wikipedia.org] Act? Isn't it an offence - punishable by a prison sentence - to not hand over encryption keys? If they need to crack it, they can just tell the suspect to hand over his key(s). If he/she doesn't, he goes down for more than 90 days anyway ...

  • This is stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damiam (409504) on Friday November 11, 2005 @12:07AM (#14004854)
    IIRC it's a crime in Britain to refuse to hand over encryption keys when required by the police. So why don't they just seize the hard drives and ask for the key? If the suspect gives it up, all is well. If he refuses, then the police don't need to hold him without charge for even one day, much less 90, because they now have a charge to pin on him.
  • by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Friday November 11, 2005 @12:11AM (#14004875) Journal
    Police want the time to take some pressure off themselvs. If they can extend the deadline by 2 and a half months they have more time to get everything done. They don't "need it", but they want it because it's a damn sight easier for them.

    Although I'm outright against this and any other attempt to make a police state. If you lock a guy up for 3 months you've pretty much taken his job away from him, maybe his house (if renting) and rumours spread fast, so good luck getting hired againa as a "possible terrorist". The reason the vote was against it is because it would ruin people's lives if this were to be brought upon them.
  • by Ingolfke (515826) on Friday November 11, 2005 @12:16AM (#14004905) Journal
    If you need complete security from all government agencies (or other parties) you need to combine a strong encryption system like ROT13 with a text-based cyphering system like l33t sp34k. Continued study into lossy 1-bit compression, which effectively reduces and entire file to a single bit, could also be used to thwart the unauthorized individuals from gaining access to your data. Of course, you'd have to accept a little data loss if you chose to compress your encrypted files.

    I am currently working on the next-gen encryption system that will handle binary files better than ROT13 (yes, I know it's hard to believe). This new system will use the same encryption concepts on the entire WORD. I call this system ROTl33tn00b, or R0t3n for short. When I have my code (pure VB6) finished I will release it to the community under GNU/GPL.
  • by shanen (462549) on Friday November 11, 2005 @12:25AM (#14004951) Homepage Journal
    ...only outlaws will have encryption.

    Just fishing for the amusing title, but in the (pretty large number of) posts I've looked at so far, no one has made the obvious observation that if the "terrorists" are actually concerned about being held some number of days, then they can just increase the level of encryption they use to make sure that it will take longer than that to decrypt their drives. There is no upper limit on the amount of encryption you use. For the police to claim that they need any fixed number of days is totally bogus, and the British police are just making excuses because they want to hold suspects for longer time periods. Heck, if having a HDD is the excuse for being held longer, then all the smart criminals will simply get rid of their computers. Of course that's on the theory that the amount of time the police are holding them has anything to do with whatever criminal action they might be planning.

    In conclusion, I would guess that the stupid TV show called "24" must also be shown in Great Britain.

    Real life is not like that. Before arresting someone, the police are supposed to already have some concrete and substantive basis for suspecting the person has committed a crime, or even stronger evidence that the person is really in the process of planning to commit a crime. The basis that "We think we'll find something AFTER we decrypt the HDD" is totally bogus. The reality here is they just want to quietly lean on the suspects for a longer time, and saying they need that much time because of HDD encryption is just a cheap--and stupid--excuse.

    Having said that, I'm surprised the politicians weren't stupid enough to go along with the gag. That already puts them ahead of most American politicians. Can you try to imagine explaining HDD encryption to Dubya?

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday November 11, 2005 @01:51AM (#14005379) Journal
      I think the most obvious step is for your friendly neighborhood criminals & terrorists to start remotely accessing their systems. Dumb terminals basically. There is no reason the computer can't be in another room, building, etc. Shouldn't a VPN over an encrypted wifi link be secure enough? 54 Mbps might be "slow" compared to normal HD access speeds, but the security gain should outweigh any performance loss. The police can't seize anything that isn't in the dwelling without (generally speaking) seeking additional warrants. Your mileage may vary
  • by FishandChips (695645) on Friday November 11, 2005 @06:43AM (#14006440) Journal
    This sounded like one of those "fishing" measures beloved of the UK police whereby they gain a power so vague they can use it to pursue just about anything. Granny not paid her TV licence? Ooh, there might be compromising evidence on a PC in her house.

    The notion that terrorists stroll around with all their details encrypted on a laptop PC is completely false anyway. A good terrorist cell would have been trained ruthlessly to avoid such an obvious compromise and organized so that it had no information to retain or pass on anway. What they need to know would be a few fleeting instructions on a job by job basis. The most successful terrorist outfit of modern times, the Irish Republic Army, did not become viciously successful by using computers, FFS. Computers weren't even around for most of its active history. And such evidence as there is suggests that many terrorist operations have been coordinated on the basis of using throw-away mobile phones on a one-off basis.
  • Short Answer: No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Friday November 11, 2005 @10:38AM (#14007676) Homepage

    No, you cannot decrypt a hard disk in 90 days (assuming the use of strong encryption). If you find you're using Rijndael or Serepent, you're good. However, in the period of 90 days, you're more likely to experience a psychological break due to duress (like torture). Most people could handle 14 days, but not 90. Once you break, you'll be more than happy to hand over your keys.

    To clarify the difference of 14 and 90 days in detainment, consider the following. Those detaining have had a couple periods on which to deprive the detainee of food and water to the point of going critical without actually killing you. Once someone become dependent on their captors for essentials like food and water, they become loyal. They have also had the opportunity to deprive the person of sleep for a solid 12 or more days, which can drive most people close to the point of insanity. Also, the textbook technique for "breaking" someone where captors inflict physical pain then "rescue" the person from it requires several iterations. 14 days just simply is not enough to accomplish these things. 90 would suffice.

    And let me also point out that this is how the United States government operates these days. It would be reasonable to assume some of our closest allies are engaged in similar activities with "terror suspects".

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