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Archive for the ‘BitLocker’ Category

Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring Beta Now Available

March 24th, 2011 No comments

I just returned from Las Vegas, where, this morning I attended Brad Anderson’s keynote address at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) where he announced the beta release of Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM). It was great…(read more)

Categories: BitLocker, MBAM Tags:

The Get On The Bus tour is coming and we’re bringing some free SWAG!

April 27th, 2010 No comments

The Get On The Bus tour is coming and we’re bringing some free SWAG!


We are giving away 50 copies of Windows 7 Ultimate for the first 50 Get On the Bus event attendees through the door at EVERY STOP! Don’t miss your chance to win a copy of Microsoft’s newest software offering plus some chances at some other great swag so hurry and register today at www.thebustour.com.


What is the “Get On The Bus Tour”? Well, it’s where Microsoft comes to you. We are coming to the East Coast May 21-June 4! Come spend some time with us as we travel the East Coast for a deep dive into Windows 7 and Office 2010, along with a specific path on how to get certified. Learn why Windows 7 has received rave reviews from IT organizations and why so many IT Pros are excited about Office 2010. We will show you best practices for deploying Windows 7 and how to keep it running efficiently after deployment. We will also take a tour through all of the Office 2010 features from an IT Professional’s point of view. Registration is free but limited at http://thebustour.com .


For the latest updates follow us on Twitter @thebustour


Disclaimer:


To receive your free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate, be one of the first 50 people who are US residents (includes D of C) or Canada 18+ to arrive at a Microsoft Get On the Bus Tour afternoon event.  50 copies of the software title are available. Limit one gift per person.  This offer is non-transferable and cannot be combined with any other offer.  This offer ends on June 4, 2010 while supplies last, and is not redeemable for cash.  Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the recipient.  There is no shipment of your gift – all gifts will be distributed onsite.

Black Hat TPM Hack and BitLocker

February 10th, 2010 Comments off

Last week at the Black Hat DC conference a presenter showed how one manufacturer’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) could be physically compromised to gain access to the secrets stored inside. Since that presentation, I have had plenty of questions from customers wanting to know how this might affect Windows. The answer? We believe that using a TPM is still an effective means to help protect sensitive information and accordingly take advantage of a TPM (if available) with our BitLocker Drive Encryption feature in Windows 7.

The attack shown requires physical possession of the PC and requires someone with specialized equipment, intimate knowledge of semiconductor design, and advanced skills. While this attack is certainly interesting, these methods are difficult to duplicate, and as such, pose a very low risk in practice. Furthermore, it is possible to configure BitLocker in a way that mitigates this unlikely attack.

With our design for BitLocker in Windows 7, we took into account the theoretical possibility that a TPM might become compromised due to advanced attacks like this one, or because of poor designs and implementations. The engineering team changed the cryptographic structure for BitLocker when configured to use enhanced pin technology, discussed in the BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows 7: Frequently Asked Questions. As a result, an attacker must not only be able to retrieve the appropriate secret from the TPM, they must also find the user-configured PIN. If the PIN is sufficiently complex, this poses a hard, if not infeasible, problem to solve in order to obtain the required key to unlock the BitLocker protected disk volume.

BitLocker remains an effective solution to help safeguard personal and private data on mobile computers. For more information on BitLocker best practices, we have published guidance in The Data Encryption Toolkit for Mobile PCs. This toolkit discusses the balance of security and usability and details that the most secure method to use BitLocker in hibernate mode and a TPM+PIN configuration. With the advancements in Windows 7, users that are worries about potential attacks such as this one should also enable the Allow enhanced PINs for startup group policy setting for their environment.

Black Hat TPM Hack and BitLocker

February 10th, 2010 No comments

Last week at the Black Hat DC conference a presenter showed how one manufacturer’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) could be physically compromised to gain access to the secrets stored inside. Since that presentation, I have had plenty of questions from customers wanting to know how this might affect Windows. The answer? We believe that using a TPM is still an effective means to help protect sensitive information and accordingly take advantage of a TPM (if available) with our BitLocker Drive Encryption feature in Windows 7.

The attack shown requires physical possession of the PC and requires someone with specialized equipment, intimate knowledge of semiconductor design, and advanced skills. While this attack is certainly interesting, these methods are difficult to duplicate, and as such, pose a very low risk in practice. Furthermore, it is possible to configure BitLocker in a way that mitigates this unlikely attack.

With our design for BitLocker in Windows 7, we took into account the theoretical possibility that a TPM might become compromised due to advanced attacks like this one, or because of poor designs and implementations. The engineering team changed the cryptographic structure for BitLocker when configured to use enhanced pin technology, discussed in the BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows 7: Frequently Asked Questions. As a result, an attacker must not only be able to retrieve the appropriate secret from the TPM, they must also find the user-configured PIN. If the PIN is sufficiently complex, this poses a hard, if not infeasible, problem to solve in order to obtain the required key to unlock the BitLocker protected disk volume.

BitLocker remains an effective solution to help safeguard personal and private data on mobile computers. For more information on BitLocker best practices, we have published guidance in The Data Encryption Toolkit for Mobile PCs. This toolkit discusses the balance of security and usability and details that the most secure method to use BitLocker in hibernate mode and a TPM+PIN configuration. With the advancements in Windows 7, users that are worries about potential attacks such as this one should also enable the Allow enhanced PINs for startup group policy setting for their environment.

Black Hat TPM Hack and BitLocker

February 10th, 2010 No comments

Last week at the Black Hat DC conference a presenter showed how one manufacturer’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) could be physically compromised to gain access to the secrets stored inside. Since that presentation, I have had plenty of questions from customers wanting to know how this might affect Windows. The answer? We believe that using a TPM is still an effective means to help protect sensitive information and accordingly take advantage of a TPM (if available) with our BitLocker Drive Encryption feature in Windows 7.

The attack shown requires physical possession of the PC and requires someone with specialized equipment, intimate knowledge of semiconductor design, and advanced skills. While this attack is certainly interesting, these methods are difficult to duplicate, and as such, pose a very low risk in practice. Furthermore, it is possible to configure BitLocker in a way that mitigates this unlikely attack.

With our design for BitLocker in Windows 7, we took into account the theoretical possibility that a TPM might become compromised due to advanced attacks like this one, or because of poor designs and implementations. The engineering team changed the cryptographic structure for BitLocker when configured to use enhanced pin technology, discussed in the BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows 7: Frequently Asked Questions. As a result, an attacker must not only be able to retrieve the appropriate secret from the TPM, they must also find the user-configured PIN. If the PIN is sufficiently complex, this poses a hard, if not infeasible, problem to solve in order to obtain the required key to unlock the BitLocker protected disk volume.

BitLocker remains an effective solution to help safeguard personal and private data on mobile computers. For more information on BitLocker best practices, we have published guidance in The Data Encryption Toolkit for Mobile PCs. This toolkit discusses the balance of security and usability and details that the most secure method to use BitLocker in hibernate mode and a TPM+PIN configuration. With the advancements in Windows 7, users that are worries about potential attacks such as this one should also enable the Allow enhanced PINs for startup group policy setting for their environment.

Windows BitLocker Claims

December 7th, 2009 Comments off

Windows 7 is seeing success in the marketplace which I am very happy about from a security perspective. The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report has shown us again and again that the more up-to-date a PC is, the less likely it is to be infected by malware and other potentially dangerous software. So Windows 7 making strides is helpful to the ecosystem overall from a security standpoint. Success comes at a price though, through greater scrutiny and misinterpretation of some of the technologies. One of those technologies is BitLocker.

I’ve seen numerous claims the past few weeks about weaknesses in BitLocker and even claims of commercial software that “breaks” BitLocker. One claim is from a product that “allows bypassing BitLocker encryption for seized computers.” This claim is for a forensics product and has legitimate uses; however, to say it “breaks” BitLocker is a bit of a misnomer. The tool “recovers encryption keys for hard drives” which relies on the assumption that a physical image of memory is accessible, which is not the case if you follow BitLocker’s best practices guidance. The product, like others used legitimately for data recovery and digital forensics analysis, requires “a physical memory image file of the target computer” to extract the encryption keys for a BitLocker disk.  Our discussions of Windows BitLocker have always been to communicate that it is intended to help protect data at rest (e.g. when the machine is powered off). If a forensics analyst or thief/adversary has physical access to a running system, it may be possible to make a copy of the computer’s memory contents by using an administrative account on the system, or potentially through hardware-based methods such as direct memory access (DMA).

Another report discusses targeted attack vectors where the attacker must gain physical access to the computer, multiple times I might add. This research is similar to other published attacks where the owner leaves a computer unattended in a hotel room and anyone with access to the room could tamper with this computer. This sort of targeted attack poses a relatively low risk to folks who use BitLocker in the real world. Even with BitLocker’s multi-authentication configurations, an attacker could spoof the pre-OS collection of the user’s PIN, store this PIN for later retrieval, and then reboot into the authentic collection of the user’s PIN. The attacker would then be required to gain physical access to the laptop for a second time in order to retrieve the user’s PIN and complete the attack scheme. These sorts of targeted threats are not new and are something we’ve addressed in the past; in 2006 we discussed similar attacks, where we’ve been straightforward with customers and partners that BitLocker does not protect against these unlikely, targeted attacks.

Our customers are confronted with a wide spectrum of data security threats that are specific to their environment and we work hard to provide capabilities and information to help the customer achieve the right balance of security, manageability, and ease-of-use for their specific circumstances. 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.  Like most full volume encryption products on the market, BitLocker uses a key-in memory when the system is running in order to encrypt/decrypt data on the fly for the drives in use.  Also like other encryption products, a determined adversary has significant advantages when they have physical access to a computer.

We recognize users want advice with regards to BitLocker and have published best practice guidance in The Data Encryption Toolkit for Mobile PCs. In the toolkit, we discuss the balance of security and usability and detail that the most secure method to use BitLocker in hibernate mode and a TPM+PIN configuration. Using this method, a machine that is powered off or hibernated will protect users from the ability to extract a physical memory image of the computer.

Windows 7 BitLocker continues to be a foundational component adding to any defense in depth strategy for securing systems, and specifically laptops.  Even with the great enhancements made in Windows 7 such as BitLocker To Go, it still remains that BitLocker alone is not a complete security solution.  IT professionals as well as users must be diligent when protecting IT resources and the best protection against these sorts of targeted attacks requires more than just technology: it requires end user education and physical security also play important roles.

Windows BitLocker Claims

December 7th, 2009 No comments

Windows 7 is seeing success in the marketplace which I am very happy about from a security perspective. The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report has shown us again and again that the more up-to-date a PC is, the less likely it is to be infected by malware and other potentially dangerous software. So Windows 7 making strides is helpful to the ecosystem overall from a security standpoint. Success comes at a price though, through greater scrutiny and misinterpretation of some of the technologies. One of those technologies is BitLocker.

I’ve seen numerous claims the past few weeks about weaknesses in BitLocker and even claims of commercial software that “breaks” BitLocker. One claim is from a product that “allows bypassing BitLocker encryption for seized computers.” This claim is for a forensics product and has legitimate uses; however, to say it “breaks” BitLocker is a bit of a misnomer. The tool “recovers encryption keys for hard drives” which relies on the assumption that a physical image of memory is accessible, which is not the case if you follow BitLocker’s best practices guidance. The product, like others used legitimately for data recovery and digital forensics analysis, requires “a physical memory image file of the target computer” to extract the encryption keys for a BitLocker disk.  Our discussions of Windows BitLocker have always been to communicate that it is intended to help protect data at rest (e.g. when the machine is powered off). If a forensics analyst or thief/adversary has physical access to a running system, it may be possible to make a copy of the computer’s memory contents by using an administrative account on the system, or potentially through hardware-based methods such as direct memory access (DMA).

Another report discusses targeted attack vectors where the attacker must gain physical access to the computer, multiple times I might add. This research is similar to other published attacks where the owner leaves a computer unattended in a hotel room and anyone with access to the room could tamper with this computer. This sort of targeted attack poses a relatively low risk to folks who use BitLocker in the real world. Even with BitLocker’s multi-authentication configurations, an attacker could spoof the pre-OS collection of the user’s PIN, store this PIN for later retrieval, and then reboot into the authentic collection of the user’s PIN. The attacker would then be required to gain physical access to the laptop for a second time in order to retrieve the user’s PIN and complete the attack scheme. These sorts of targeted threats are not new and are something we’ve addressed in the past; in 2006 we discussed similar attacks, where we’ve been straightforward with customers and partners that BitLocker does not protect against these unlikely, targeted attacks.

Our customers are confronted with a wide spectrum of data security threats that are specific to their environment and we work hard to provide capabilities and information to help the customer achieve the right balance of security, manageability, and ease-of-use for their specific circumstances. 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.  Like most full volume encryption products on the market, BitLocker uses a key-in memory when the system is running in order to encrypt/decrypt data on the fly for the drives in use.  Also like other encryption products, a determined adversary has significant advantages when they have physical access to a computer.

We recognize users want advice with regards to BitLocker and have published best practice guidance in The Data Encryption Toolkit for Mobile PCs. In the toolkit, we discuss the balance of security and usability and detail that the most secure method to use BitLocker in hibernate mode and a TPM+PIN configuration. Using this method, a machine that is powered off or hibernated will protect users from the ability to extract a physical memory image of the computer.

Windows 7 BitLocker continues to be a foundational component adding to any defense in depth strategy for securing systems, and specifically laptops.  Even with the great enhancements made in Windows 7 such as BitLocker To Go, it still remains that BitLocker alone is not a complete security solution.  IT professionals as well as users must be diligent when protecting IT resources and the best protection against these sorts of targeted attacks requires more than just technology: it requires end user education and physical security also play important roles.

Windows BitLocker Claims

December 7th, 2009 No comments

Windows 7 is seeing success in the marketplace which I am very happy about from a security perspective. The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report has shown us again and again that the more up-to-date a PC is, the less likely it is to be infected by malware and other potentially dangerous software. So Windows 7 making strides is helpful to the ecosystem overall from a security standpoint. Success comes at a price though, through greater scrutiny and misinterpretation of some of the technologies. One of those technologies is BitLocker.

I’ve seen numerous claims the past few weeks about weaknesses in BitLocker and even claims of commercial software that “breaks” BitLocker. One claim is from a product that “allows bypassing BitLocker encryption for seized computers.” This claim is for a forensics product and has legitimate uses; however, to say it “breaks” BitLocker is a bit of a misnomer. The tool “recovers encryption keys for hard drives” which relies on the assumption that a physical image of memory is accessible, which is not the case if you follow BitLocker’s best practices guidance. The product, like others used legitimately for data recovery and digital forensics analysis, requires “a physical memory image file of the target computer” to extract the encryption keys for a BitLocker disk.  Our discussions of Windows BitLocker have always been to communicate that it is intended to help protect data at rest (e.g. when the machine is powered off). If a forensics analyst or thief/adversary has physical access to a running system, it may be possible to make a copy of the computer’s memory contents by using an administrative account on the system, or potentially through hardware-based methods such as direct memory access (DMA).

Another report discusses targeted attack vectors where the attacker must gain physical access to the computer, multiple times I might add. This research is similar to other published attacks where the owner leaves a computer unattended in a hotel room and anyone with access to the room could tamper with this computer. This sort of targeted attack poses a relatively low risk to folks who use BitLocker in the real world. Even with BitLocker’s multi-authentication configurations, an attacker could spoof the pre-OS collection of the user’s PIN, store this PIN for later retrieval, and then reboot into the authentic collection of the user’s PIN. The attacker would then be required to gain physical access to the laptop for a second time in order to retrieve the user’s PIN and complete the attack scheme. These sorts of targeted threats are not new and are something we’ve addressed in the past; in 2006 we discussed similar attacks, where we’ve been straightforward with customers and partners that BitLocker does not protect against these unlikely, targeted attacks.

Our customers are confronted with a wide spectrum of data security threats that are specific to their environment and we work hard to provide capabilities and information to help the customer achieve the right balance of security, manageability, and ease-of-use for their specific circumstances. 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.  Like most full volume encryption products on the market, BitLocker uses a key-in memory when the system is running in order to encrypt/decrypt data on the fly for the drives in use.  Also like other encryption products, a determined adversary has significant advantages when they have physical access to a computer.

We recognize users want advice with regards to BitLocker and have published best practice guidance in The Data Encryption Toolkit for Mobile PCs. In the toolkit, we discuss the balance of security and usability and detail that the most secure method to use BitLocker in hibernate mode and a TPM+PIN configuration. Using this method, a machine that is powered off or hibernated will protect users from the ability to extract a physical memory image of the computer.

Windows 7 BitLocker continues to be a foundational component adding to any defense in depth strategy for securing systems, and specifically laptops.  Even with the great enhancements made in Windows 7 such as BitLocker To Go, it still remains that BitLocker alone is not a complete security solution.  IT professionals as well as users must be diligent when protecting IT resources and the best protection against these sorts of targeted attacks requires more than just technology: it requires end user education and physical security also play important roles.

End to End Trust and Windows 7

April 21st, 2009 No comments

I attended Scott Charney’s keynote this morning at RSA – Moving Towards End to End Trust: A Collaborative Effort. I would assume that many of the readers of this blog are not familiar with the End to End Trust story. In a nutshell, End to End trust is Microsoft’s vision for creating a safer, more trusted Internet. It’s a great vision, but it’s also a big job that requires a commitment and focus on the fundamentals—fundamentals that will help deliver the most secure and privacy-enhanced versions of software and services that we have ever delivered. We’re also not going it alone. End to End Trust requires broad collaboration within the industry and Microsoft will continue to share our best practices with the IT communities of our customers.

Scott talked about how hard we are working across Microsoft to deliver technology innovations that move the needle towards a trusted stack, with security rooted in hardware and an identity metasystem (a big word that means a way of trusting people are who they say they are on the Internet). Even with progress, people still need strong defense in depth security technologies and Scott talked about how Microsoft’s Identity and Security Division is delivering integrated identity and security business solutions today to our customers. But maybe the most interesting thing he touched on was how technology innovations alone are not enough. Innovation also needs to align with political, economic and IT forces to enable the change that is truly needed.

End to End trust is a vision of what’s possible if we collectively work together, and it can help address real world problems that people face every day such as ID theft, online fraud and child safety. If you want to learn more about End to End Trust, visit http://www.microsoft.com/endtoendtrust to find out the entire story.

Windows7_h_rgb

Now, let’s talk about Windows 7 and the progress we’re making to deliver End to End Trust in the Windows platform. In my blog post yesterday on how Windows 7 helps enable the mobile workforce, I wrote about technologies like DirectAccess, BitLocker To Go, and AppLocker. Each of these technologies plays a part in helping us enable End to End Trust, whether it is strong machine and user authentication with DirectAccess or limiting running software on a system to known, trusted applications with AppLocker. But there are other technologies that help us as well:

Biometric Framework
Fingerprint scanners are becoming more and more common in standard laptop configurations—my laptop came standard with one. Windows 7 helps ensure that fingerprint readers work well and that they are easy to set up and use. This is accomplished by taking the common code that everyone needs to write and standardizing it in the platform so that biometric hardware vendors can concentrate on the code they need to write to make their device work and not have to worry about how it ties into Windows. This new framework makes logging on to Windows using a fingerprint more reliable across different hardware providers and makes fingerprint reader configurations are easy to modify. This puts the user in control of how they log on to Windows 7 and manage the fingerprint data stored on their PC.

Improved Smart Card Support
Password-based authentication has well-understood security limitations; however, deploying strong authentication technologies like smart cards remains a challenge for many. Windows 7 enhances the smart card infrastructure advances made in Windows Vista through support of Plug and Play. This eases deployment of smart card infrastructures because drivers for both smart cards and smart card readers are automatically installed, without the need for administrative permissions or user interaction. I think this new behavior is going to ease the deployment of strong, two-factor authentication for many organizations.

BitLocker
I’m a big fan of BitLocker, it helps prevent a thief who boots another operating system or runs a software hacking tool from breaking into my laptop if they happen to get a hold of it. This holds true for both the operating system volume (C: drive) and my data volume (D: drive). Most customers I talk to love the encryption protection that BitLocker provides, but many are not aware that BitLocker also does integrity checking of early boot components to help ensure that the system has not been tampered with and that the encrypted drive has not been swapped out to another computer. This integrity checking ties back into the “security rooted in hardware” that is a part of End to End Trust. This integrity checking utilizes a Trusted Platform Module (a smart card like chip on the system motherboard) to help protect the encryption keys utilized by BitLocker. This is true for BitLocker in Windows 7 as well as Windows Vista.

We’ve also listened to feedback and made enhancements to Windows 7 BitLocker to provide a better experience for IT Pros and for end users. One of the simple enhancements we made is to right-click enable the BitLocker protection of a disk volume. Now I can go to Windows Explorer and right click any disk volume, including my removable BitLocker To Go volumes, and encrypt them right there without having to go to the Control Panel.

Another big change was the addition of Data Recovery Agent (DRA) support for all protected volumes. The DRA is a certificate-based data recovery agent that can be utilized to recover the contents of any BitLocker protected volume. Since the group policy settings are separate for Operating System Drives, Fixed Data Drives, and Removable Data Drives, customers have flexibility in how they want to configure their recovery options for the different threats that each separate drive type may experience.

With BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, enterprises can rest assured that their information and data is secure, no matter where their employees are working. I know I feel better knowing my laptop and all of my USB sticks are protected!

Internet Explorer 8

I know folks are more concerned than ever about protecting themselves while online, particularly form identity theft, malware, and other potentially dangerous online threats. I feel like we have done a lot in the platform and the security technologies we have been talking about this week (Firewall, DirectAccess, BitLocker To Go and AppLocker) are a part of the protection equation. But Internet Explorer 8 is also another huge piece of the equation as users spend more time online, in their browsers. IE 8 is the most secure web browser on the market and provides another, vital layer of defense against online threats.

We built upon the phishing protection in Internet Explorer 7 with the SmartScreen Filter, which now adds protection from malware – a threat that is growing significantly faster than phishing.

We also built in support for protecting users against type-1 (or “reflection) Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks. XSS threats try to exploit vulnerabilities in the websites we visit and are quickly becoming one of the most prevalent ways web sites can be compromised. The bad news for you and I is that an XSS attack can help a bad guy steal our usernames and passwords for our online bank accounts or other confidential information. The XSS filter in IE 8 uses heuristics to detect such attacks and, when they are detected, prevent their execution. This should help you and I safe from the most common form of XSS attacks in use today.

Another innovation concerns ClickJacking. While a lot or people have heard of phishing attacks, a new kind of phishing attack called ClickJacking is on the rise. ClickJacking occurs where an attacker’s web page deceives a person into clicking on content from another website without realizing it – so they’re clicking on something that, for instance, buys something from the site, changes settings on their browser, or provides advertisements that these cybercriminals get paid for. ClickJacking Protection in IE is a feature that allows Web site content owners to put a tag in a page header that will help prevent ClickJacking.

I think the IE team has done a great job with the security in IE 8 and love that it puts people in control of their safety and privacy and helps protect them from new online threats. For those of you who are interested, there is a lot more security goodness in IE 8 on the IE blog and via these links:

Got To Run

I feel great about Windows 7 and the security enhancements we have been able to make. Hopefully as you learn more about the security work that we have put into it, you will reach the same conclusion that I have: Windows 7 is the most robust platform we have ever delivered, it helps support End to End trust, helps keep you and I safe, and was designed to prevent malware from getting onto our PCs to begin with.

There is a lot going on here at RSA and I want to go spend some more time seeing what’s new and exciting. I’ll be back with some of my impressions of RSA in a bit.