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Android's Full Disk Encryption Can Be Cracked And Fix Is Not An Easy One

Devices running on Android 5.0 Lollipop and later on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are under a high risk of getting their Full Disk Encryption cracked according to Gal Beniamini, a security researcher.

The Full Disk Encryption uses a randomly generated 128-Bit key which along with the user's password as well as other swipe to unlock pattern is supposed to protect user data and is stored on the Hardware. The problem here is the key is not stored on the Hardware which would have prevented a hacker from stealing. The keymaster is utilizing a key derived from SHK(Software) instead of the intended hardware on all Qualcomm powered phones and a hacker could easily use this to break the encryption and access user data by brute-forcing the phone.

He further stated that even OEMs could break into the phones easily as required by the law because the key is confined to a TrustZone(say a security certificate). They could easily create their own signed image and brute-force the phone to reveal the password or unlock pattern.

The complexity of the problem actually starts here because the researcher believes that this issue cannot be addressed by a mere. It would require significant hardware changes to solve the issue. The researcher also noted that Apple has a potential advantage in terms of security for their phone and in Full Disk Encryption. This can be realized by the hard time their iPhones gave to the FBI during numerous investigations. Furthermore Apple assigns a 256-Bit Encryption directly to the hardware, extracted from the user password and safely out of hackers reach.

Here is the comprehensive analysis on Full Disk Security of both Apple and Android phones. What are your thoughts on this? Is it worthy of concern? Let us know!
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