14.9 Third-Party Encryption

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In certain cases, such as in protecting highly sensitive data, some administrators opt to use an additional third-party add-on for encryption. A good example of this is Encryption Plus Hard Disk . EP Hard Disk is a program that encrypts entire disks or selected partitions at the disk driver level so that normal applications can use the secure EP Hard Disk services transparently .

Table 14-1 shows the EP Hard Disk application components , the main user -visible functions within those components, and the user role expected to use each function.

Table 14-1. EP Hard Disk component names, function names, and role names

Application component

Application function

Intended user

User Program

Disk encryption



User logon


Authenti-Check or One-Time Password recovery




Administrator logon

Local administrator


Corporate administrator

Administrator Program

Administrator logon

EP Hard Disk administrator


Configuration update

EP Hard Disk administrator

Recovery tool


Local administrator


Corporate administrator

14.9.1 Summary of Functionality

The data written to and read from the partition or disk is encrypted and decrypted on the fly as required, driven by operating system use of the storage device. The encryption algorithm used is the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in Cipher Block Chaining mode with 256-bit keys. The Disk Key, which is used to encrypt the data on the disk, is randomly generated and stored encrypted under the Disk Key Encryption Key (Disk KEK). The Disk KEK is derived from the username and password with the password-based key derivation function 2, as described in the Public Key Cryptography Standards #5.

14.9.2 One-Time Password

EP Hard Disk also includes a corporate key-recovery mechanism, called One-Time Password, in which designated administrators are able to remotely assist users who forget their passwords. One-Time Password recovers the encryption key with which the disk is encrypted, allowing the user to set a new password and regain access to her data.

The administrator private key is stored when One-Time Password is installed during initial installation of the User Program. The recovery tool does not require the administrator to log on. The information exchanged between the user and the administrator during the recovery procedure is compact, so that the messages can be communicated verbally over a telephone.

14.9.3 Local and Corporate Administrator Recovery

There are two classes of administrator: local and corporate. Local administrators are assigned a domain of control (for example, a department within the company) by the EP Hard Disk administrator and are only able to fulfill the recovery and User Program logon functions within their domain of control. Corporate administrators can access the entire domain of control covered by the installation and one or more local administrators.

In addition, local and corporate administrators are able to log on to the User Program and gain physical access to the computer and user data. To authenticate themselves to EP Hard Disk, administrators have their own passwords.

14.9.4 Authenti-Check Self-Service Password Reset Tool

EP Hard Disk contains an alternative key-recovery mechanism called Authenti-Check. In Authenti-Check, the user is able to recover a Disk Key without assistance from an administrator. The user is asked to provide a list of Authenti-Check questions and answers during setup of the User Program. The Authenti-Check key-recovery key is derived from the answers to the user-provided questions and used to encrypt the Disk Key. If users provide the correct answers to their Authenti-Check questions, the Disk Key is recovered. Users can then set new passwords and regain access to their data.

Users can change their passwords at any time if the EP Hard Disk administrator has allowed them to make the change. If corporate and local administrators wish to have their passwords changed, there is a password-update feature available to the EP Hard Disk administrator in the Administrator Program. This feature creates a signed password update that can be installed on existing installations of the User Program. The User Program then updates the recovery blocks with the new public keys corresponding to the new administrator passwords.

14.9.5 User Program Configuration Options

There are a number of configurable User Program options related to security, such as messages to display at various points in the EP Hard Disk dialogs (for example, phone numbers or methods of contacting the administrators), options relating to the number of incorrect entries allowed during password entry, and requirements mandating password expiration, minimum length, and so on.

The EP Hard Disk administrator configures these options into the User Program setup files, which are then installed on user workstations.

14.9.6 Network Installation and Updating of User Programs

EP Hard Disk supports remote silent installation: for example, via network logon scripts. The EP Hard Disk administrator, using a signed configuration change package, can also make configuration changes to existing installations of the User Program. Both configuration changes and administrator password changes can be automatically updated on the existing installations of the User Program using, for instance, a network logon script.

14.9.7 Single Sign-On

A Single Sign-On feature is provided as a convenience to the user. The logon to the User Program is displayed before the Windows logon window. If the Single Sign-On option is selected, EP Hard Disk manages authentication to Windows so that the Windows logon dialog box is not displayed. EP Hard Disk stores the Windows logon name and password in an encrypted form and supplies them to Windows logon in order for Single Sign-On to function.

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Security Warrior
Security Warrior
ISBN: 0596005458
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 211

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