Did the FBI Fail to Decrypt a Hard Drive Encrypted with TrueCrypt?

The Operation Satyagraha at Rio de Janeiro has hard-drives as evidence but the problem is these five hard drives are all encrypted using TrueCrypt. This is giving the FBI a hard time as it struggles to decrypt the files on these drives.

The Operation Satyagraha took place in 2008 and the investigation has been continuing ever since. Apparently, the Brazil was investigating the drives initially but they were handed over to the FBI only when they could not handle it anymore. However, the FBI has returned the drives saying it failed to decrypt the drives.

The hard drives are using an AES and TrueCrypt. The FBI has been trying a dictionary attack on the files and has failed so far. The failure to decrypt these hard drives has brought immense shame to the FBI and has exposed its weakness at dealing with the technological advancements of modern times. Funnily enough, there exists no law in Brazil to force the banker give up his passwords.

A few months ago, there was news of the FBI director missing the fact that Google earth is not real time and does not show live data. See this hilarious news  here. This proves how the security agencies in various countries are lagging behind in technology.


Published by

Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

  • Anonymous

    Calling failure to decrypt TrueCrypt drives a "weakness" or "lagging behind" in technology and causing "immense shame", is pretty ignorant.

    The real issue is that modern encryption technology has reached a point where it simply cannot be broken, when used correctly. This is not a failure of the FBI, it's a failure of the basic logic of reality.

    I'll rephrase: It's logically impossible for the FBI, or anyone else in the world, to create any software that could break a good modern encryption.

    Granted, one exception might be quantum computing, but that seems to be way, way in the future, and it is in no way in the hands of the FBI or any one agency to create such machines today. That would require a huge leap in many fields of technological progress. It would be like claiming FBI is lagging behind because they haven't terraformed and colonized Mars yet. :)

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  • Anonymous 2

    It is a weakness in terms of Justice rather than Computer Security. From the CS view point, there is no weakness since extremely few people have managed to find flaws in full encryption disks (and they were more clever methods than dictionary or brute force attacks). From the justice view point, this prevents prosecution from obtaining what they need for a conviction if the person in question really did do a crime.