An up-to-date analysis by Dr. Sergei Skorobogatov caters to the crypto/ blockchain world as many investors had lost their bitcoins in locked IronKey drives.
(November 8th, 2021) According to previous reports, hundreds of people have been locked out of their encrypted IronKey drive. There is no backup password or alternative method, other than the original password that was set up by the user to retrieve the data. After a series of incorrect password attempts, IronKey would destroy its contents forever.
But after a series of research, the secure storage proves to be vulnerable under certain conditions and further research Is being implemented to check all previous versions of IronKey.
This research by Bitcoin Recovery Co. and personally Dr. Sergei Skorobogatov describes the teardown process of nine generations of IronKey encrypted USB Flash drives from the very first model to the latest one. Out of them, four models were found vulnerable to NAND mirroring attacks. This includes the latest model certified to FIPS 140-2 Level 3 and approved by NATO.
The IronKey technology changed over time, this further led to more analysis and it resulted in the teardown of 15 different models of encrypted USB Flash drives from Kingston, iStorage, MXI, DataLocker, Integral, and safes. Most of these devices were found to be potentially vulnerable to attacks.
The research further demonstrated that some secure devices marketed as unique are software implementation of functions on a different secure microcontroller of a standard family.
This paper sheds some light on the actual situation with the security of encrypted USB Flash drives. However, it only does this to the level of feasibility study against possible attacks. For example, it might not explain how some secret data could have leaked from encrypted USB Flash drives.
More research is needed to make sure that the hardware security of semiconductor devices used in IronKey USB Flash drives meet the highest expectations of their users.
Arkady Bukh, Esq
14 Wall St, New York, NY 10005.
+1 (212) 729-1632.