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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys

    Abstract Contrary to popular assumption, DRAMs used in most modern computers retain their contents for seconds to minutes after power is lost, even at operating temperatures and even if removed from a motherboard. Although DRAMs become less reliable when they are not refreshed, they are not immediately erased, and their contents persist sufficiently for malicious (or forensic) acquisition of usable full-system memory images. We show that this phenomenon limits the ability of an operating system to protect cryptographic key material from an attacker with physical access. We use cold reboots to mount attacks on popular disk encryption systems — BitLocker, FileVault, dm-crypt, and TrueCrypt — using no special devices or materials. We experimentally characterize the extent and predictability of memory remanence and report that remanence times can be increased dramatically with simple techniques. We offer new algorithms for finding cryptographic keys in memory images and for correcting errors caused by bit decay.

    Though we discuss several strategies for partially mitigating these risks, we know of no simple remedy that would eliminate them.

    See this vid on youtube, Link: [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDaicPIgn9U"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDaicPIgn9U[/ame]
    Full research paper: http://citp.princeton.edu/pub/coldboot.pdf
    Experiment guide: http://citp.princeton.edu/memory/exp

    Introductory blog post: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1257
    My build log: http://www.mycncuk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    When someone hostile have that level of physical access on a computer, ram persistence is the last of your worries...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2024

    Re: Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys

    Cold boot attacks on encryption keys pose a significant threat to data security, leveraging vulnerabilities in system memory to retrieve cryptographic keys even after a system has been shut down. These attacks exploit the persistence of data in RAM, allowing adversaries to recover sensitive information such as encryption keys. In the context of an open source crypto exchange, where secure storage and transmission of digital assets are paramount, mitigating the risk of cold boot attacks becomes imperative. Implementing robust encryption protocols and secure memory wiping mechanisms can help safeguard against such threats, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of users' assets and transactions.

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