By John Leyden
28th June 2010
Cryptographic locks guarding the secret files of a Brazilian banker
suspected of financial crimes have defeated law enforcement officials.
Brazilian police seized five hard drives when they raided the Rio
apartment of banker Daniel Dantas as part of Operation Satyagraha in
July 2008. But subsequent efforts to decrypt files held on the hardware
using a variety of dictionary-based attacks failed even after the South
Americans called in the assistance of the FBI.
The files were encrypted using Truecrypt and an unnamed algorithm,
reportedly based on the 256-bit AES standard. In the UK, Dantas would be
compelled to reveal his passphrase under threat of imprisonment, but no
such law exists in Brazil.
The Brazilian National Institute of Criminology (INC) tried for five
months to obtain access to the encrypted data without success before
turning over the job to code-breakers at the FBI in early 2009. US
computer specialists also drew a blank even after 12 months of efforts
to crack the code, Brazil's Globo newspaper reports.
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