[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Some details on RSA Secure

At 08:48 AM 8/31/95 PST, "baldwin" <[email protected] (Robert W. Baldwin)> wrote:
>Here are my biased comments on RSA Secure.  They are biased by
>the fact that I an a techie who works for RSA Data Security.
>Neatest Features:
>- It is integrated with the File Manager on Windows and the
>  Finder on Mac System 7.

It's an interesting approach - simpler than installing as a file system
(I'm not using SecDrv because it needs a separate partition),
but so far it seems relatively useable.  On the other hand,
since there are file types it refuses to encrypt, like DLLs,
there are some things it can't protect (like DLLs with passwords
embedded in them.)

>- A settable list of files can be automatically decrypted (or
>  encrypted) on system startup (or shutdown).

I've got mixed feelings about this - since my password has normally
timed out by the time I shut down, it demands a password before
shutting down, and if I had any large amount of data there,
I assume it would take a while to reencrypt on my 386-box.
(Laptops are generally slower than similar-age desktops,
and you often want to shut them down quickly, even when
they aren't shutting themselves down to save power.)
I haven't tried powering it off during this process, but I assume
that at best the files would be unencrypted and at worst there'd
be one half-decrypted and sitting in limbo to be trashed the
next time the system starts up?

>Technical Features:
>- The user's passphrase unlocks a master key that is used to unlock
>  the file encryption key for each file.

Since the documentation mentions 512-bit and 1024-bit RSA keys,
I'd guess that each file has a separate random RC4 key which is
stored in the file header, encrypted with the user and escrow
RSA keys plus the MD5 hash, plus the encrypted real filename?

(The alternative would be that the userpref.!!! file contains an
RC4 key encrypted with RSA, which is used to encrypt the file keys,
but that would lead to much shorter headers, and cracking that master
RC4 key would then allow cracking of all documents on the system,
so I'm guessing that's not the approach used.)

>Request for Improvements:

1) The "Emergency" menu item in the File Manager is annoying.
Could it be combined with the RSA menu item, eliminated, or
at least have the option of abbreviating the name?

2) Can keys and files be shared between multiple machines,
i.e. the same user keys on a desktop and laptop, so that
individual encrypted files can easily be moved back and forth?
#                                Thanks;  Bill
# Bill Stewart, Freelance Information Architect, [email protected]
# Phone +1-510-247-0664 Pager/Voicemail 1-408-787-1281