A bunch of researchers, among them the famous Bruce Schneier, have discovered that features like Recent Documents list may reveal information about files on an encrypted partition even when used in conjunction with the so called deniability feature which hides data in an encrypted partition.
I'm a bit puzzled that it took them so long to figure out that every kind of application that is logging or saving temporary data might reveal information about such hidden data. Maybe I got it wrong and missed something but if that is not the case I might call this finding rather obvious.
If I have a Word document on an encrypted partition and open it with Word it gets added to the recently accessed files list in Word as far as I know. The research paper has already been published and can be downloaded freely. The name of the document is "Defeating Encrypted and Deniable File Systems:
TrueCrypt v5.1a and the Case of the Tattling OS and Applications".
The research paper is well written and understandable for users with a technical background but most other users as well. What they are basically saying is that information can be found in operating systems and applications that could link to data in encrypted and hidden partitions. Some of the examples mentioned in the paper are Word auto-saves, recent files lists and Google Desktop.
The researchers are also assuming that a user would reveal the encrypted partition but not the hidden partition located inside of the encrypted partition which is plausible. An analyst would only have to find evidence for the existence of a hidden partition to defeat its purpose. That does not mean that he would be able to decrypt the data but he could gather information by analysing the operating system and the installed applications.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.