Memory trick breaks PC encryption

Encrypted information held on a laptop is more vulnerable than previously thought, US research has shown. Scientists have shown that it is possible to recover the key that unscrambles data from a PC's memory. It was previously thought that data held in so-called "volatile memory" was only retained for a few seconds after the machine was switched off. But the team found that data including encryption keys could be held and retrieved for up toseveral minutes.

"It was widely believed that when you cut the power to the computer that the information in the volatile memory would disappear, and what we found was that was not the case," Professor Edward Felten of the University of Princeton told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme. Volatile memory is typically used in random access memory (RAM), which is used as temporary storage for programs and data when the computer is switched on.

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Alright good advice, always remember to not leave your laptop logged in and unattended for atleast a few minutes after encrypting your files.

Shouldn't a new feature be built into os's then?..

On log off or shut down the final action should be to rewrite the ram cache.

(pat. pending, lol)

You know, we used to do this YEARS ago to rip music and stuff on the Amiga...

Load the game you want.. Reboot, and run your RAM sniffer. Voila... Most of the program you were running is still there. It even worked if you powered off for a brief period.

Hardly what I'd call a new discovery!

Yeah, I remember doing this sort of thing with my old Commodore 16. I think it worked to a degree with the ZX Spectrum too.

(Mr Fish said @ #4.1)
Yeah, I remember doing this sort of thing with my old Commodore 16. I think it worked to a degree with the ZX Spectrum too.

You're right, it worked with those too.

So no, VERY not a new discovery!

Again with this fear mongering "encryption is broken" story? Yeah I suppose it's possible, better be on the lookout for really intelligent looking laptop thieves carrying a set of tools and liquid nitrogen around with them. For the average person the odds of getting their laptop stolen by someone who has the means and knowledge of how to do this are probably less than them being struck by lightning in a snowstorm.