Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dutch Forensics Institute opens encrypted vault of imagery

The Netherlands Forensics Institute (NFI) was able to "crack the encryption" of an extremely large collection of child pornography, which provided additional evidence against a suspect. While the fact that another step towards the protection of young children has been taken is good news, it is also interesting to see that law enforcement was able to somehow break the encryption of this massive collection of data (an estimated 7.5 million images/movies).

The mainstream press releases do not disclose many details on the crack, as is common with cases that have not yet been brought before a judge. No details are available as far as the encryption algorithm used, or the key (or  keys) used to protect the information. At this time, we do not know if the encryption was broken through cryptanalysis, or by bruteforcing the key.

The news is still fairly remarkable, since initial estimates by the NFI were that it would take at least multiple years to get this far. Of course, if the key was bruteforced, the matter of statistics still exists. Sometimes you just get lucky and "guess" the key early on.

Either way; I'm interested in learning more about this case, and finding out how the encryption was broken.



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