Whither TrueCrypt?

My guess is that the TrueCrypt self-takedown
is going to turn out to be legitimate.

We know NOTHING about the developers behind TrueCrypt.

Research Professor Matthew Green, Johns Hopkins Cryptographer who recently helped to launch the TrueCrypt Audit, is currently as clueless as anyone. But his recent tweets indicate that he has come to the same conclusion that I have:

  • I have no idea what’s up with the Truecrypt site, or what ‘security issues’ they’re talking about.
  • I sent an email to our contact at Truecrypt. I’m not holding my breath though.
  • The sad thing is that after all this time I was just starting to like Truecrypt. I hope someone forks it if this is for real.
  • The audit did not find anything — or rather, nothing that we haven’t already published.
  • The anonymous Truecrypt dev team, from their submarine hideout. I emailed. No response. Takes a while for email to reach the sub.
  • I think it unlikely that an unknown hacker (a) identified the Truecrypt devs, (b) stole their signing key, (c) hacked their site.
  • Unlikely is not the same as impossible. So it’s *possible* that this whole thing is a hoax. I just doubt it.
  • But more to the point, if the Truecrypt signing key was stolen & and the TC devs can’t let us know — that’s reason enough to be cautious.
  • Last I heard from Truecrypt: “We are looking forward to results of phase 2 of your audit. Thank you very much for all your efforts again!”

I checked out the cryptographic (Authenticode) certificate used to sign the last known authentic version (v7.1a) of TrueCrypt, signed on Feb. 7th, 2012:


You’ll notice that nine months after being used to sign the v7.1a Windows executable the signing certificate expired (on November 9th of 2012.)

The just-created Windows executable version of TrueCrypt, v7.2, was signed on May 27th, 2014 with THIS certificate:


You’ll notice that the certificate which signed it was minted on August 24th of 2012, a few months before the previous certificate was due to expire, just like we’d expect, and also by the same CA (GlobalSign), though having a longer public key (4096 bits). This all exactly passes the smell test.

In a comment below, Taylor Hornby of Defuse Security noted that “The GPG signatures of the files also check out. The key used to sign them is the same as the one that was used to sign the 7.1a files I downloaded months ago.” So, again, this speaks of either a willful and deliberate act by the developers, or a rather stunning compromise of their own security. While, yes, the latter is possible, it seems much more likely, if also much less welcome, that TrueCrypt has been completely abandoned by its creators.

So, given the scant evidence, I think it’s much more likely that the TrueCrypt team – whomever they are – legitimately created this updated Windows executable and other files which would imply that they also took down their long-running TrueCrypt site.

Which, of course, leaves us asking why?  We don’t know because we don’t know anything about them or their motives. They might be in Russia or China where Windows XP is still a big deal (with a more than 50% share) and personally annoyed with Microsoft for cutting off support for Windows XP.  Or anything else.

What’s creepy is that we may never know.


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138 Responses to Whither TrueCrypt?

  1. George Gillan says:

    Steve, Thanks for posting your take on this for the non-Twitter users among us

    • David says:

      They took out all references to truecrypt.org in the 7.2 code, and simply referred to it as the “domain name truecrypt” — which makes me think that they don’t want anyone going to truecrypt.org in the future.

  2. The GPG signatures of the files also check out. The key used to sign them is the same as the one that was used to sign the 7.1a files I downloaded months ago.

  3. john doe says:

    great post Steve! love your work sir!

  4. Would you still use TrueCrypt?

  5. Liz H. says:

    They were likely infiltrated by NSA and their site compromised.

  6. The conclusion is that truecrypt is no longer trustworthy. My gut feeling is that they are pulling a lavabit. They got an offer they can’t refuse, so are closing down shop rather than complying.

    Someone else suggested that the suggestion to use bitlocker is so unlikely, it’s a signal of shenanigans. Perhaps it’s their dead canary?

    • Andy says:

      This seems like a possibility. This screams dead canary to me.

    • webmastir says:

      That or they are under an NDA and this is the only option they have.

      • A literal NDA, suggesting that they were bought out by a large company, e.g. Google/Microsoft/Red Hat/et c.? Interesting thought. This might be the simpler explanation. I just don’t think it jives with their announcement page.

        Then again, the Truecrypt guys never were known for their orthodox approach.

        • My thought is to give the folks “the benefit of the doubt”. Sourceforge hacking isn’t impossible too. If support truly has stopped, the text doesn’t imply “selling to go closed source” to me. And, the level of detail in the multi-platform “explanation” leads to either a developer that truly cares or possibly is/was under more pressure than could be endured. And, if external/internal governmental pressure was on 2 of 3 developers, that may have been enough for any of us to think of our friends/family and withdraw for a while. At this point, speculation until we go a few months down the road. Unfortunately, any things possible.

    • Doug says:

      Agreed. My vote is that the NSA made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, so they shut down shop.

    • Dave Bunting says:

      I fear you’re right: pulling a lavabit.
      This government is getting scary:
      1. The Gestapo attack on Gibson Guitars.
      2. US Dept of Agriculture orders sub-machine guns.
      3. US Dept of Homeland Security orders more ammunition than U S Defense Dept.
      4. US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation forces banks to cancel/reject accounts from gun dealers.

  7. Joe says:

    I think we should all stick with 7.1 and just chill for now. Notice how nothing happened until the audit was initiated and preliminary results were made known. There may have been NSA shenanigans here and I definitely do NOT trust MS Bit-locker. Just a suggestion there are other products out there that are perhaps viable although commercial Jetico Bestcrypt (ISRAELI) comes to mind. It is closed source which is why most prefer TrueCrypt.. But this is one of the better pieces of software (been around forever and has more features).

  8. Igor Levicki says:

    What would be the reason to get 4096-bit key in 2012 when today kernel mode signing certificates still come with 2048-bit keys?

  9. Ronald says:

    The poor persons at TrueCrypt used PayPal for donations. Hmmm. Must have been easy to identify.

  10. jedreynolds says:

    Reblogged this on Bitratchet and commented:
    TrueCrypt remains one of the best whole-drive encryption utilities available.

  11. vrillusions says:

    Here’s a fun conspiracy story.

    To my knowledge the truecrypt devs were receptive to the security audit when it was first mentioned. We just got the first results from that and nothing horrible was in it. At this point “someone” approached the devs with some “minor code updates” and “convinced them” to add it to truecrypt. The devs then comply with that (which differs from what the government claims lavabit did and has been fighting in courts since). The devs then not trusting these “minor code updates” deem the current version of truecrypt as not secure. So they not only did the update as “someone” wanted but have also claimed that the current version on their site is not secure. This is all knowing that the audit of 7.1a is in progress so we will then have a vetted version of truecrypt people can trust.

    There’s a lot of ifs and “s in there and I have nothing to back any of it up, but it’s an interesting idea.

  12. Ken says:

    So, is the guidance “Don’t use the new version” or “Don’t use -ANY- version of TC”?

    • Don’t use the new version. It is only useful to decrypt already encrypted data. The previous version is still as effective as it ever was, but we should all start looking for a different encryption solution.

      Here is the catch-22. If we never get another update, then bugs found in the future won’t get fixed, hence lowered security. On the other hand, if there is another update, how would we know it’s trustworthy? At this point, any of the suggested scenarios pretty much spell the end of the truecrypt project as we know it.

      So don’t do anything hasty, stay away from the newest version, and plan to find another encryption tool in the near future.

      • SortofCrypto says:

        “but we should all start looking for a different encryption solution.”

        I would agree that caution is in order but we should first wait to see if the site comes back. Although we have been told the software is insecure — we don’t actually know if that’s true. The only vulnerabilities I know of are memory dumps and system caching of open crypts. They aren’t really weaknesses of Truecrypt though and can be mitigated. (although the quality of pseudo random number generators are a big question mark on all encryption software at the moment)

        It’s entirely plausible that the bizarre abrupt nature of posting could be some psych ops attempt to discredit Truecrypt (seeing as even Snowden, hacker of the ultimate hackers, recommended it). It seems unlikely some random hacker with enough skills to do this would then leave such a glaring red flag of a website after all that work. (could have just quietly modified binaries)

        Then again, it could be the bizarre nature of the page was just the result of a rushed job due to a NSL. Recommending Bitlocker, when an open source oriented dev certainly would know its untrustworthy, might be the dev’s way of saying it without breaking the law.

        Another option is given the secrecy of the identity of the dev perhaps Truecrypt was an NSA project all along. With all the recent negative press over NSA spying it could be a case of fear of public backlash if it was discovered and the project was shut down.

        • I wish I could agree that the project could live on, but it really is a catch 22. The new binary is signed with their private key. As the project devs are totally anonymous, that private key is the only way we have to check for a legit release. And now, either they are truly shutting down, or that key has been compromised.

          It literally resets their credibility back to nothing. If the project comes alive again, we will have no way to know if it is a legit dev, or a hacker with the keys. They would have to generate new keys, and even then, how does one know it’s the same Truecrypt devs? The chain of trust has been broken, and I don’t see a way to repair the existing chain of trust.

          The bizarre nature of all this leads many of us to believe it’s a canary, intend to let the public know that they’ve been compromised by a government entity, aka a NSL or the like. In that case, we still can’t trust it ever again, as any future release will contain whatever backdoor was added.

          Knowing the state of the project, and the fact that the new binary was signed with the old keys, I can’t imagine a scenario where I could trust Truecrypt again.

          • vancedecker says:

            Odd, how something which should be so clear, is not. It’s almost as if people are out to cloud the reality of the situation.

  13. sunnzy13 says:

    How high is the bar of creating a fork at this stage? Can we get the source code of tc7.1 from a reliable source?

  14. Reg Hyde says:

    Curiouser and curiouser!? Likelihood of an uncoerced fork?

  15. Chris O says:

    Steve, thanks for the update. I rely on TrueCrypt for a number of things. The problem I have is that they just say use “bit locker” and seemed to think every user was on windows, or at least that is my impression. I used True crypt containers (with key files) for cross OS use (MS windows, Centos 5/6, and Android, Iphone/MacOSX) as it was the one of the easiest programs that could be used on all four or had “compatible” programs that could use a TC container. I know there are other tools for Linux but nothing seems to have as nice a GUI for Mac/Win but I can leave that for the time being. The big thing for me is Centos6 to/from Android (tablet/phone). So I open this up to everyone and see what the group has experience with. Sorry to “slough off” my own research on to others but if other have experience why not leverage it.

  16. Adrian says:

    Something smells very fishy here:

    If the TrueCrypt team were truly worried about security vulnerabilities in their software, why would they recommend BitLocker, a closed-source solution for which they haven’t seen a single line of code, developed by a company that couldn’t realistically refuse certain kinds of requests by intelligence agencies around the world? It makes no sense except either as a way to drive people away from TrueCrypt toward less secure alternatives, or as a hint for people not to take the announcement at face value.

    • Chris O says:

      I agree, however, I must plan for a transition presuming it does turn out to be true. IMHO responsible developers wouldn’t just “abandon” users and say “yo everybody! We are done and think your a buch of knee biters. Use this propritatary system from some place we don’t trust and the rest of you fend for yoruself”. There would be information on the scope, depth, and length of time the issue has existed and then mitigation (if any), and they would publish their own list of alternatives not just imply that you should “google it”. If it is true that TC is the equivelent of luggage locks then I need to know that. That may be enoug security for some things. If is a hole that would take resources of large criminial or government enterprise I need to know that too. If it is broken then free the source and lets fix the parts that need fixing, or replace them. The GUI on Mac/Win and Linux is very similar and deserves to be re-used even if the container can’t be.

      • Lan B says:

        agreed. I don’t see anything fishy with this. Windows is the most popular platform they have. It makes sense to provide windows users with the most seamless transition path:
        -get off XP because you don’t want to be using an OS which you’ll never get a patch for.
        -just use the OS built in feature.

        They don’t want to recommend XYZ open tool because that would imply they endorse it. I think they want the community to decide that, not them. So the “just use whatever is the default” seems perfectly reasonable, for their vast majority, which is windows users.

        They know if you’re on linux, you need no help finding alternatives.

  17. Redd says:

    I find it odd that the TrueCrypt webpage now whole heartedly promotes BitLocker encryption. I strongly sense that someone else wrote that page and not the developers of TrueCrypt.

    Here is something that I would expect from the TrueCrypt developers:

    “It has come to our attention that there are vulnerabilities in TrueCrypt. At this time, we have no plans to fix these vulnerabilities and thus we have decided to terminate the TrueCrypt project and software. We highly recommend that you migrate your data to another encryption platform. At this time, we cannot endorse any particular encryption platform, any one of which may have it’s own vulnerabilities. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you.

    Doesn’t that sound what you expect from TrueCrypt, instead of this strange promotion of Bitlocker?

    • Andy says:

      I think we all need to focus on this. They are recommending a closed-source, unverified alternative. It’s pretty much the last thing I would expect from anyone in the open-source crypto community.

      • David says:

        Honestly… it sounds like the developers have just given up, like they just don’t care about security anymore — maybe the Snowden revelations have made them feel defeated? Perhaps they simply don’t care anymore and are just recommending the easiest thing for Windows — BitLocker — since everyone has access to it.

        If you notice, they say in regards to OSX and Linux — there are other encryption programs out there, we don’t have any recommendations, but try using Google and see what comes up.

        • Redd says:

          I’m beginning to favor the theory that it was the TrueCrypt audit which triggered the termination of TrueCrypt. The audit did find a sloppiness to the code with medium level security risks. I imagine that trying to repair TrueCrypt look liked a project that the team (of who knows how few unpaid members) just did not want to tackle. So they just gave up. I’m still going to use TrueCrypt 7.1a until I am convinced that something better exists.

          • John A. Gonzalez says:

            I tend to agree with your sentiments. I have no plans to migrate my data to another location until I have a satisfactory, open-source replacement. I like TrueCrypt very much and use it as a safe repository for my source control. I have no desire to migrate to another product, but I will if given no other choice.

  18. not_a_crook says:

    I don’t find the recommendation of BitLocker to be as weird as most. I quit using TrueCrypt in favor of BitLocker a while ago. Personally I think TrueCrypt’s plausible deniability feature is detrimental. Would anyone want to participate in the rubber hose decryption of a non-existent hidden volume?

    I think for the average person, their threat model is protecting private data from common thieves, the goverment, the police, etc.. If someone that’s willing to beat your password out of you gets you and your data, your pretty screwed regardless of the technolgy you’re using.

    In the case of the authorities, unless you have serious political or financial clout, how does TrueCrypt’s hidden volume fetaure not work against you? If you happen to end up on the wrong side of the aisle in a courtroom, it’s going to be guilt by association. The inability to prove you aren’t using TrueCrypt’s plausible deniability is going to have a negative impact. In the worst case scenario you might end up being held in contempt of court for refusing to divulge a password that doesn’t exist.

    I want the option of proving to an authority that I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s not something I should be required to do, but I want the option. It’s much easier to be aggressive about protecting your rights when you know you can fall back on absolute proof if things start going badly.

    As for a BitLocker back door, I think the default settings for Windows 8 give a good indication of what the deal is…

    Windows 8 (Pro) encourages the use of a Microsoft account and, when you set up BitLocker, an escrowed encryption key. My guess is that’s enough to appease the authorities. They don’t want a simple, turnkey solution that allows the average (computer illiterate) user to go dark. Most users will accept the default, escrowed key. All the authorities need to do is call up Microsoft when they need an encryption key.

    The BitLocker setup also recommends the user have an alternate method of key recovery. For users that don’t use key escrow, forgoing the creation of a recovery key is going to be a big increase in the risk of losing data. IIRC, all of the options use an unprotected format (file, usb key, printed), so, if you do create a recovery key backup, how do you store it securely? Most people will keep it in a safe or safe deposit box, both of which are (likely) accessible to the authorities.

    BitLocker really encourages the user to make mistakes in protecting their encryption key, so that makes me think the underlying system is probably secure and the poor default choices and advice are the “back door”. I think I even saw a FAQ somewhere on Microsoft’s site that said they’d email a recovery key to you if your key is escrowed. I didn’t look up the specifics since I don’t use an escrowed key, but that sounds like an extraordinarily bad idea.

    I’ve even seen some speculation the bad defaults and advice were part of the deal when Microsoft wanted to start including BitLocker in the (more common) consumer versions of Windows. Was BitLocker limited to the Enterprise version of Windows 7? That’s all pure speculation though.

    Going back to the average user’s threat model… To protect against common thieves, even key escrow is probably good enough (assuming they can’t get an email with your recovery key).

    To protect against the authorities, it’s much more complicated. IMO it’s naive to think you could end up in a modern day courtroom and NOT be expected to hand over your passwords or encryption keys (if applicable). In those cases, encryption should be seen as tool to put you (and your lawyer) in control of the process.

    If the authorities seize your computer, you don’t want them to have immediate, blanket access to everything. Our computers have an almost incomprehensible amount of data about our lives. I doubt many people would agree that a search warrant for every place you’ve every lived, worked, visited, or shopped is reasonable, but, for some reason, a search warrant for a whole computer is considered ok.

    Encryption isn’t a license to hide illegal activity though. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for people to be compelled, by court order, to hand over their encryption key, but only so the key can be used to search for data that is limited in scope. Encryption should be seen as the average persons digital right to remain silent so they have an opportunity to get legal help before giving the police or government unfettered access to their (entire) digital life. It should be a checkpoint to negotiate terms _before_ a search happens, not a way to prevent a search entirely.

    Most geeks like to view encryption as a purely technical problem, but it’s not. The solutions, like everything, need to be politically and legally workable. I’d be satisfied with a user friendly, secure, escrow based encryption system if I could choose an escrow service that’s:

    1. hosted in my country
    2. mandated to protect my interests before forfeiting my keys

    As for TrueCrypt, I don’t think it’s as good of a privacy tool as everyone suggests. I’d bet a nickel it’s viewed less favorably (by law enforcement) than more commercial options like BitLocker. IMO it’s better to be the person no one is shooting at than the person wearing a bullet proof vest.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Lan B says:

      the problem with your premise is that in US law at least, your innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around. You’re saying the judge will say you’re guilty because you cannot prove there is no hidden volume. But in fact that is not how it will go. The judge will say to the prosecution that he is innocent until they CAN PROVE there is a hidden volume.

      aren’t you glad the law was written the way it is?

      • Michael says:

        This is true. But I recommend you never enter GB which has a law which allows the authorities to lock you in kail when you are not handing over your keys.

  19. If anyone needs to install TrueCrypt 7.1a, I have written up a short tutorial on how do securely download it, checking the certificates used to sign it:


  20. Paul Stephenson says:

    Isn’t it possible, knowing how secretive they are, that with all the extra publicity that they thought that their secrecy/anonyminity was about to be compromised, maybe getting a little too uncomfortable with it, and decided to get out of the heat so to speak?

  21. mcL says:

    I’m so glad I’m paranoid.

  22. Lan B says:

    It is not likely they were upset at XP’s end of life given it has been known for many years that it would happen as it did. What IMO they mean to say is that given XP is no longer going to be updated with security fixes, you shouldn’t use truecrypt on it anyway and should instead migrate to windows vista, 7 or 8. When you do that, you’ll now have access to bitlocker, unlike with XP, therefore they see no need for this software any longer.

    In other words, it seems the developers main target was never linux, osx, windows 7 or 8. That was just an after thought as all those platforms have built in encryption. All but XP. Therefore, now that XP is basically a security hole waiting to be massively exploited, they don’t want anybody on it, and they certainly don’t want anybody trusting true-crypt on it as any OS exploit can easily log your keys and observe everything when you encrypt and decrypt.

    I can’t say I disagree with their premise on XP. I wouldn’t run the thing even if you paid me for it, and certainly I wouldn’t decrypt anything on it. But off course, their assumption that you can just use the OS built in technique for newer windows versions is a non starter to many.

    Sad to see it go but no doubt another open source solution will soon emerge as the de-facto standard.

    • Redd says:

      I generally agree with the premise that TrueCrypt was created for supporting Windows XP users and that newer Windows versions were just an afterthought. BUT I find it hard to believe that the person who came up with the idea of hidden volumes and plausible deniability – a sign of someone with extreme security concerns – would ever sign off on the idea of trusting Microsoft’s Bitlocker. I speculate that there had to have been at least two TrueCrypt team members, one with extreme security concerns and other one who nonchalantly tells users to use BitLocker.

    • Zak M says:

      The problem with this thought is, not everyone is running Windows Ultimate. Many are on Home or Pro, which doesn’t have Bitlocker.

  23. Pingback: Blog: Mysteriet om TrueCrypt – hacked eller droppet? | Computer Viden information

  24. Pingback: An Imagined Letter from the TrueCrypt Developer(s) | Steve (GRC) Gibson's Blog

  25. vm says:

    What about Cryptic Disk, guys (works on Windows) ?


  26. Pingback: TrueCrypt Potentially Compromised, Website Warns Users Away - »

  27. J_M_Anderson says:


    Any recommendations for those of us that have Windows 7 Professional? Bitlocker doesn’t work on Windows 7 Pro and TrueCrypt was the best option.

  28. Pingback: Whither TrueCrypt? | Steve (GRC) Gibson’s Blog | Living With Wires

  29. Nagroth. says:

    Any chance it’s a “dead man’s switch”, Steve?

  30. BobR says:

    Lan B said on May 29, 2014 at 6:47 am
    “the problem with your premise is that in US law at least, your innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around. You’re saying the judge will say you’re guilty because you cannot prove there is no hidden volume. But in fact that is not how it will go. The judge will say to the prosecution that he is innocent until they CAN PROVE there is a hidden volume.”

    That will only work if the judge is computer aware enough to tell the prosecution/persecution to do so. Otherwise their claim that there CAN be a hidden volume will be enough to cause him to hold you in contempt/guilty for failing to hand over the password for a non-existent hidden volume. It is a case of being unable to prove a negative. You might be able to convince him to ask them for proof but that may not work since they can snow him.

    Query – Do you need the TrueCrypt code on your computer to unlock/un-hide a hidden volume or can it be done on a vanilla system? If the code is needed on the system, its lack can be used to claim that there is no hidden volume. Also, if encrypted files are visible is there any way of determining if they were encrypted with TC? If so, that might be used to support a claim of the (possible) existence of a Hidden Volume.

    • Lan B says:

      the prosecution can claim anything they want, but you can always reference the documentation, hire an agreed upon expert, and they will all tell you that from a mathematics standpoint, the prosecution’s case falls apart. It doesn’t matter what the judge’s tech credentials are. They often rule on subjects that require field experts, such as medical malpractice, and other complex subjects. This is the reason you do not see anybody haven’t been ever prosecuted under implied guilt for hidden volumes: because the burden of proof is so high, the prosecution would basically may as well drop the case.

      Remember courts are about what can be PROVEN in court. Allegations do not equal proof. If they did, all the feds would have to do to get anybody in jail is to claim that harmless jpg on your computer is a hidden volume hidden with steganography applied to disguise it as an image, and even though you deny it and they cannot prove it is there, you cannot prove otherwise thus you’re guilty. The system just doesn’t work that way. If it did, we’d all be in jail for any allegation the government would make.

    • Lan B says:

      Do you need the TrueCrypt code on your computer to unlock/un-hide a hidden volume or can it be done on a vanilla system? If the code is needed on the system, its lack can be used to claim that there is no hidden volume.

      it is based on standard encryption. The file specification is complex but you don’t really need any magic sauce crypto if that is what you’re asking. You can make your own decryptor if you’re skilled enough. Every TC file container looks like it may have a hidden area. The details are complex but boiling it down to the bare essentials, there are 4 parts to any file. A header region divided in two where two TC headers fit. One for the hidden volume, one for a potential shadow one. And a body which is divided in two parts: used and free space. TC first tries to decrypt the first header and body as if there was no hidden part. if it fails, it will try to use the hidden header region and the region flagged as empty space to see if there exists a hidden volume. If that second try works, it knows it has a hidden volume and behaves accordingly. If the first try works, it assumes it has no hidden volume and behaves accordingly.

      Because all the file blocks are pre-randomized pre-encryption, there is no way to prove a file has, or has not a hidden volume. It is just random noise all over even in the headers. In fact TC does not know it has a hidden volume or header, unless it has the key which allows it to decrypt the hidden header. This is why if you ever open the outer header and volume and start writing to it, TC will basically hose the hidden volume because it has no way to know there was a hidden area. It looked like empty available space to it.

      It is perfect deniability not because it tries to hide the hidden volume, but because every single file looks like it has a region of random noise which it can be either empty space for the outer volume, or a hidden shadow area. In summary: cannot be proven either way so you’re innocent by law because even if you’re compelled to give a password, you will only give the outer volume and that proves nothing regarding the existence of a hidden volume. Therefore you cannot be ruled in contempt to court. You gave the password. And they cannot prove you know about a hidden password unless you tell them (and duh, why would you).

      Also, if encrypted files are visible is there any way of determining if they were encrypted with TC? If so, that might be used to support a claim of the (possible) existence of a Hidden Volume.

      Yes, you can prove something is a TC file. But that doesn’t imply it has a hidden volume. As I said, ALL FILES in theory can have a hidden volume, because the hidden volume is only interpreted by TC as hidden when it fails the normal volume test and then uses the empty random space of the file as the hidden volume.

      It really is smart. probably the most amazing file design I’ve seen.

      • dewimorgan says:

        The issue I’ve always had with that is that it is vulnerable to timestamps.

        Say they look at the last-access/last-change time of the container, and look at the last-updated time of the files in the outer volume that you gave them access to: the container was changed just before they banged on your door; but the files within it appear not to have been touched at that time.

        QED: there is a hidden container.

        You might have the machine set to shutdown and trash the memory on a hotkey, but you probably won’t have it set up to first unmount the inner container, mount the outer container, make some changes, unmount it, shut down the computer, and trash the memory.

        • Lan B says:

          Last access doesn’t reveal anything. You can open outter volumes read only. Last modified is a bit more problematic. You can easily explain it away that you copied the file from a backup. That would look to windows as last access last modified container yet the inner files may be 2 years old. It doesn’t really prove there is anything as it can be explained away.

          You could also explain the change by saying you deleted a file in the outter volume which would trigger a change of the container, yet leave other files untouched.

          As you can see, you cannot definitively prove the hidden volume is there. You can only claim it may be there but that claim holds for ANY container, even those that don’t have one.

          However I agree it is an area which they can and should fix. The best way to ensure it is fixed is by simply ensuring the last modified stats are always updated on the outer container regardless of modifications to the file and regardless of what volume you accessed.

          As a stop gap, you can write a script to change those dates every time you close the hidden volume. This type of file system data isn’t auditable in windows so any change to the stats will be indistinguishable from the real thing. I’d set mine to all be on the date the files of the outter container were created.

          • dewimorgan says:

            The existence of such a custom script would be rather good evidence that you’re hiding something that could be revealed by the times. though.

  31. I’m not sure if this is true, since I have yet to validate this myself, but someone in the Neowin forum mentioned that the newly released TrueCrypt tries to make TCP connections to something. Has anyone done any research into this part yet?

    • Lex Luthermiester says:

      I heard that rumor too. Decided to try it with a notebook running Vista and SPF on a spare HDD. It tried to access the loopback[] but nothing else when accessing a TC volume.

      Still, EVERYONE needs to consider Truecrypt 7.2 a COMPROMISED piece of code!! DON’T use it!! Download 7.1a from GRC.com or another trustworthy source. The files on TCnext[ @ https://truecrypt.ch/ ] also seem to be legit as they seem to pass checks.

  32. Morten Ziersen says:

    If they where asked, to shutdown the development or open a backdoor, by the men working at the 3 letter departments paid for by the US citizens, then please don’t ever tell med the same country is land of the free.
    When encryption has to have a backdoor accessible by the government, the free part leaves the citizens.
    Imagine somebody said, we need keys to all your locks in your private home, car, boat, cabin and office, just in case we ever think you might do something wrong or something we don’t like.
    Man it gets me angry that a person can not have something personal on his computer, because it might be of national security interest, but print it out and keep it under your pillow, now the same department needs a warrant.
    Another possibility is of course.
    The TrueCrypt guys might just be the programmers who got tired of no pay and just decided to do something else. if thats the case, I personally would have expected a lot more words from the guys from TrueCrypt, before they decided to stop everything.
    Personally I would gladly donate $50, to keep the program running.
    I wonder just how few people it would take who a willing to donate a few bucks to keep the good guys going…
    So if you are listening guys and girls?
    Step up to the plate and ask for a few bucks if you consider continuing the good work, please don’t wait to long.

  33. Pingback: Το εργαλείο κρυπτογράφησης TrueCrypt δεν είναι πια ασφαλές, σύμφωνα με επίσημη αναφορά - DJDB.me

  34. Benghazeeeeeeeeee says:

    Consider this:

    “WARNING: Using TRUECRYPT IS Not Secure As…”

    Warrant canary. Just sayin’. Is it any less believable than what we already know?

    • Chris O says:

      Then I would expect the inital caps and other odd/obvious clues like you point out. ‘unfixed security issues’ is also odd. If they are ‘unfixed’ then fix them if they can not be fixed ergo they are “unfixable”

      • Benghazeeeeeeeeee says:

        I actually didn’t pick it up myself; someone on another forum did. It’s not blindingly obvious, but you’ve got to admit it IS a very unusual sequence of words…

        I don’t think the message was meant to be interpreted literally, as many have pointed out. For example, what does WinXP *really* have to do with any of this, despite the notice about it?

        Precisely nothing.

        • Lan B says:

          any number of reasons XP is relevant to this:
          1) they may simply be trying to make a point to pointlessly try to stir internet outrage at XP’s demise (won’t work).
          2) they may simply be looking for an excuse to quit. And now that everything but XP has file encryption, and XP is EOL, they found it.
          3) they are honest and TC existed because of XP with everything else (linux and OSX) not being used enough to justify the effort relative to XP. Maybe they saw a decline in win7 and win8 usage to bitlocker.

          sure it may be a false flag, but it is not entirely implausible since after all, their windows client was by far the most widely used and it may very well be the case XP was their most widely used windows version.

          • Benghazeeeeeeeeee says:

            Nah, brah. People used it because it was open source (therefore theoretically auditable), and it rand fine on all Doze versions, except maybe 8 (which no one wants much to do with, anyway, except the n00bs.

            There are cracks for just about every Micro$oft “encryption” scheme out there: Outlook, Word, and on and on. Again, only a n00b would trust M$ with anything important.

            Your refusing to see the forest for the insignificant detail of the trees.

            And you’re forgetting that there are 10,000 better ways to announce the end of an opensource project than all this cloak-and-dagger nonsense.

            This is a 3,000 pound warrant canary, saying “CHEEP! CHEEP!”, sheeple.

            • Stefan Lundmark says:

              Outlook and Word are encryption schemes now? Please!

              By the way, large corporations can audit things like BitLocker by signing NDA’s. AFAIK, VMWARE are one of those corporations that have.

              I really like Steve’s work, but these comments are just silly.

              Oh and I never used TrueCrypt because it was open source. Speak for yourself.

              • Benghazeeeeeeeeee says:

                What I was saying is that the “password protection” in Outlook and Word is easily cracked – there are numerous tools on the net for doing so.

                I am an embedded software developer, have been for over 20 years, and I’d venture I’ve a much broader perspective on this issue than you’ll ever have.

                What I am saying to you, directly and pointedly, is:
                1) Windows XP EOL has nothing to do with any of this. Many people still use and will continue to use Windows XP, as those of us who have to navigate the file system 100’s of times each day cannot stand the “library” feature of Win7, which is always getting in the way.

                2) If you trust any encryption provided by Microsoft, you are a fool.

    • Lan B says:

      this imagined encoded message is exploding all over the web. If you’re as smart as to work on TC, you’re not as silly as to do that. Besides if they are under NSA letters, even suggesting it this way would prove a violation and they wouldn’t risk it. These guys are smart. If the left a clue it would be unambiguous, yet give them plausible deniability. I’d expect no less.

      • Carl says:

        > These guys are smart. If the left a clue it would be unambiguous,
        > yet give them plausible deniability. I’d expect no less.

        I couldn’t agree more with this. However, I don’t agree with the conclusion you draw from this… I would say that this “WARNING” could very well be an example of a smart clue (that does NOT constitute a violation of whatever gag order they are under). That and the choice to “promote” Bitlocker are both nice clues that can’t be used against them! Also, the seemingly cold-hearted sloppiness prevalent in the way the announcement was made is a nice red flag. Remember, this is their BABY, that they have cared for for 10 years, and THIS is how they choose to say “goodbye” at its deathbed! You really don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder if there isn’t something more to this than meets the eye…

        Had they capitalized the N S A in this sentence, then they would have gone too far, but this way was perfectly subtle:
        WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues

  35. Metalfreak says:

    I know this doesn’t matter a whole lot right now but I still think it’s important to remember that TrueCrypt isn’t open source at least not according to the Open Source Initiative (see link below), Free Software Foundation, Debian project, the Fedora project (which is mostly controlled by Red Hat) or any other major Linux distribution


    That doesn’t mean TrueCrypt isn’t a great peace of software because it is but it does hurt it’s chances of being forked. However, tcplay by the DragonflyBSD project which is compatible with TrueCrypt while being released a BSD license might be able to continue without TrueCrypt.

    • Miguel says:

      Even with the licensing problems, there’ll surely be a fork in some months. Some websites are even getting ready to try to start a fork as soon as possible: http://truecrypt.ch/

      Anyway, with all this shock, no doubt that in a few days/weeks some “TrueCrypt” fakes will appear and anyone downloading it from dubious sources may at least get adware/viruses instead (or if worst comes to worst… a modded unsecure version, or a modded “spy-able” version…)

  36. Pingback: DTNS 2245 – Tales from the TrueCrypt | Daily Tech News Show

  37. leftcranium says:

    I think this is a red herring to get the NSA off their back. the new version will probably have a back door to an even more secure version TrueCrypt. I call this the plausible deniability theory.

  38. Pingback: DTNS 2245 – Tales from the TrueCrypt | Tom Merritt .com

  39. Pingback: DTNS 2245 – Tales from the TrueCrypt | Tom Merritt All Audio Feed

  40. Chris says:

    Every code-signing certificate I’ve ever gotten forced me to identify myself like crazy. Why not ask the CA for the identity of whoever the certificate was given to? That’s the whole point of their trust system – so that when shit happens, like now, we can find out who did it.

  41. Pingback: To chyba faktycznie koniec Truecrypt jakiego znamy - radźcie sobie sami, mówią jego twórcy - AntyWeb

  42. Doug says:

    not secure as itm (go to end) ayconta (+1 ) in unf ixedsecu (+1) ri tyi . Seems a bit coincidental to me. But who really knows? NSA MAN FU II. Could be more there or it could coincidental. Leave it with you. Delete this as irrelevant if you like. The number pattern is 3,6,2,3,7,2,3,8,2,3.

  43. Bob Hodges says:


  44. rob says:

    i tried truecrypt.org in the waybackmachine…..
    Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine
    Show All

    This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.

  45. Pingback: Legit or hack? TrueCrypt posts mysterious update | LamboArchie Blog

  46. vancedecker says:

    Nobody. NOBODY. Who is sane. Would recommend a crummy Microsoft product like bitlocker to replace truecrypt.

    You’ve just revealed yourself steve. You can no longer be taken seriously. I’m deleting my pirated copy of spinrite.

    • Carl says:

      Go back and re-read what Steve wrote and you’ll see that he’s only talking about what the Truecrypt developers wrote on their site. The scenario that TC developers actually meant what they wrote about Bitlocker being a good alternative to TC was entertained as ONE POSSIBLE scenario. Although it might not be the most likely scenario. Lots of other speculation was also talked about.

  47. Douglas Fischer says:


    Thanks for posting this. Been a fan for many years of SpinRite and Security Now. As a now former infosec guy I hadn’t had time to delve into the specifics of this strange fiasco, but I knew you and/or Bruce Schneier would be right on top of it. I tend to agree that a fork is almost certainly in order, provided the audit continues to come back clean. TrueCrypt is an awesome product, and while it is sad that the developers decided to follow this course, reports of TrueCrypt’s demise are indeed premature and exaggerated. I certainly hope that at some point the developers realize their actions are overly dramatic and are able to return in some capacity to being involved in what will be the continued development and support of whatever “the product formerly known as TrueCrypt” becomes. Clearly they are very talented and it would be a shame for them to totally walk away.

  48. Pingback: На сайте TrueCrypt опубликовано заявление о небезопасности и закрытии проекта

  49. David says:

    The TrueCrypt developers say on their website:
    “Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues”

    Take the first letter of each word and you will get:
    “uti nsa im cu si”

    Let Google translate this from Latin into English and you will get:
    “If I wish to use the NSA”


    • Morten Ziersen says:

      If it was the NSA, and they used a national security letter to silence TC, then thats an misuse of authority IMO.
      To stop a legal development is a hardly a “free world” approach to a government problem.
      Sorry guys but how do citizens of USA tolerate a government controlled agency that breaks in to homes/ companies and steals secrets?

      The fact that a person or a company are treated as criminals just because they protect information, makes me sad.
      That is the end of freedom.

      When I think of just how many times we westerners have yelled at countries like Iran, China, Russia to name a few, for doing what free countries like USA are doing now.
      What logic is there behind that?


  50. Pingback: TDH – WWDC, Truecrypt’s future and some Google | the digital hazard

  51. guest says:

    I just uninstalled TC. It doesn’t matter anymore what is written on their website, if it’s true or false or enigmatic etc. They claim to be nobody and nobody could be anyone… People (including me) want to encrypt their garbage… Running naked on the forest doesn’t make you invisible.

  52. Pingback: Legit or hack? TrueCrypt posts mysterious update | Đại Lý vé máy bay Minh Quang

  53. Pingback: Security – 31 – TrueCrypt? | inThirty.net

  54. Pingback: Com o fim do TrueCrypt, quais são as alternativas? | FGR* Blog

  55. saul says:

    Police athorities tracked.down creaters.and covinced them to shut down.

    With a national.security letter they could not devulge the cause.

    Have saved many disks with Spinrite!

  56. Pingback: What’s up with TrueCrypt? | Third Apple

  57. Pingback: TrueCrypt is Dead, Long Live TrueCrypt! - Puttyq.com

  58. Pingback: Tech Mind #66: Dubbi su Fastweb e TrueCrypt | EasyPodcast

  59. Pingback: VeraCrypt Rises from the Ashes of TrueCrypt - Percontor

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  61. Passover says:

    I think there is really no problem, just use truecrypt 7.1a to encrypt your information and then encrypt the whole thing again with your favorite or the ‘recommended’ encryption software.

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  81. I just have three words to say, “Not Secure As”

  82. Gordon Phillips says:

    When I use the last version of Truecrypt (stand alone version on a flash drive) on my Windows 8.1, 64 bit computer, and then do a rootkit scan with AVG 2015 it always finds a “rootkit” (truecrypt-x64.sys) in a system volume. (AVG does not find an infected file. It finds something on a system volume.) I let AVG remove it, and the system comes back clean. The next time I use Truecrypt, AVG will find the “rootkit” installed and I have to remove it again. What is going on here? Is there something wrong with Truecrypt? Or, is the a “false-positive”?

  83. Tommi says:

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