Just recently, I was happily hacking away at the Truecrypt 7.1a source code to enhance its abilities under Linux, and everybody was eagerly awaiting the next version of the open source disk encryption software since the developers told me they were working on “UEFI+GPT booting”, and now BOOM. Truecrypt website gone, forum gone, all former versions’ downloads gone. Replaced by a redirection to Truecrypts SourceForge site, showing a very primitive page telling users to migrate to Bitlocker on Windows and Filevault on MacOSX. And told to just “install some crypto stuff on Linux and follow the documentation”.
Seriously, what the fuck?
Just look at this shit (a snippet from the OSX part):
Farther up they’re saying the same thing, warning the user that it is not secure with the following addition: “as it may contain unfixed security issues”
There is also a new Truecrypt version 7.2 stripped of most of the functionality. It can only be used to decrypt and mount anymore, so this is their “migration version”. Funny thing is, the GPG signatures and keys seem to check out. It’s truly the Truecrypt developers’ keys that were used for signing the binaries.
Trying to get you a screenshot of the old web site for comparison from the WayBackMachine, you get this:
Now, before I give you the related links, let me sum up the current theories as to what might have occurred here:
- http://www.truecrypt.org has been attacked and compromised, along with the SourceForge Account (denied by SourceForge administrators atm) and the signing keys.
- A 3-letter agency has put pressure on the Truecrypt foundation, forcing them to implement a back door. The devs burn the project instead.
- The Truecrypt developers had enough of the pretty lacking donation support from the community and just let it die.
- The crowdfunded Truecrypt Audit project found something very nasty (seems not to be the case according to auditors).
- Truecrypt was an NSA project all along, and maintenance has become tedious. So they tell people to migrate to NSA-compromised solutions that are less work, as they don’t have to write the code themselves (Bitlocker, Filevault). Or, maybe an unannounced NSA backdoor was discovered after all. Of course, any compromise of commercial products stands unproven.
Here are some links from around the world, including statements by cryptographers who are members of the Truecrypt audit project:
- [Discussion on YCombinator]
- [Announcement on SlashDot]
- [Announcement on Ars Technica]
- [Matthew Green (TC audit cryptographer) on Twitter] (Saying he has no idea what’s going on)
- [Kenn White (TC audit cryptographer) on Twitter] (Warning that this might be a possible compromise)
If this is legit, it’s really, really, really bad. One of the worst things that could’ve happened. Ever. I pray that this is just a hack/deface and nothing more, but it sure as hell ain’t looking good!
There is no real cross-platform alternative, Bitlocker is not available to all Windows users, and we may be left with nothing but a big question mark over our heads. I hope that more official statements will come, but given the clandestine nature of the TC developers, this might never happen…
Update: This starts to look more and more legit. So if this is truly the end, I will dearly miss the Truecrypt forum. Such a great community with good, capable people. I learned a lot there. So Dan, nkro, xtxfw, catBot/booBot, BeardedBlunder and all you many others whose nicks my failing brain can not remember: I will likely never find you guys again on the web, but thanks for all your contributions!
Update 2: Recently, a man called Steve Barnhart, who had contact with Truecrypt auditor Matthew Green said, that a Truecrypt developer named “David” had told him via email, that whichever developers were still left had lost interest in the project. The conversation can be read [here]!
I once got a reply from a Truecrypt developer in early 2013, when asking about the state of UEFI+GPT bootloader code too…
I just dug up that email from my archive, and the address contained the full name of the sender. And yes, it was a “David”. This could very well be the nail in the coffin. Sounds as if it was truly not the NSA this time around.