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Storage Devices of Major Vendors Impacted by Encryption Software Flaws

Storage devices from several major vendors are affected by vulnerabilities discovered by a researcher in third-party encryption software they all use.

Earlier this month, SecurityWeek reported that Western Digital had updated its SanDisk SecureAccess product to address vulnerabilities that can be exploited to gain access to user data through brute force and dictionary attacks.

SanDisk SecureAccess, recently rebranded SanDisk PrivateAccess, is a piece of software that allows users to encrypt files and folders stored in a protected vault on SanDisk USB flash drives.

Researcher Sylvain Pelissier has discovered that the software is affected by a couple of key derivation function issues that can allow an attacker to obtain user passwords.

Pelissier detailed his findings this week at the Chaos Computer Club’s Remote Chaos Experience (rC3) virtual conference, where he revealed that the vulnerabilities were actually discovered in the DataVault encryption software made by ENC Security.

DataVault is advertised as a solution that provides “military grade data protection and security features” to various types of systems, including USB drives, hard drives, NAS devices, CDs and DVDs, computers, and various cloud services.

Pelissier discovered that DataVault is used by vendors such as WD (which owns SanDisk), Sony and Lexar, and the issues he identified impact the products of each company.

Pelissier used reverse engineering and various other techniques and tools to find the weaknesses that could allow brute force attacks. The CVE identifiers CVE-2021-36750 and CVE-2021-36751 have been assigned.

“It turned out that the key derivation function was PBKDF2 using 1000 iteration of MD5 to derive the encryption key,” the researcher explained. “The salt used to derive the keys is constant and hardcoded in all the solutions and all the vendors. This makes it easier for an attacker to guess the user password of a vault using time/memory tradeoff attack techniques such as rainbow tables and to re-use the tables to retrieve passwords for all users using the software. The implementation itself was incorrect and even with a randomly generated unique salt, it would be effortless to recover the password of a user.”

Pelissier presented his findings at rC3 alongside Boi Sletterink, who has helped ENC address the vulnerabilities.

In its own advisory, ENC explained, “DataVault and its derivatives were using a one-way cryptographic hash with a predictable salt making it vulnerable to dictionary attacks by a malicious user. The software also made use of a password hash with insufficient computational effort that would allow an attacker to brute force user passwords leading to unauthorized access to user data.”

ENC was initially informed about the flaws in May and it made available fixes in early December with the release of DataVault 7.2. Sony and WD published their own advisories shortly after. The researchers said Lexar did not respond to disclosure attempts.

Related: Zero-Day Vulnerability Exploited in Recent Attacks on WD Storage Devices

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Related: Thousands of Legacy Lenovo Storage Devices Exposed Millions of Files

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.