The security test lab of Fraunhofer SIT has published a technique for getting around Microsoft's BitLocker disk-encryption technology, even when BitLocker is used in connection with a hardware-based Trusted Platform Module.
The attack is intended to counter the widely held belief that a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) device is a foolproof way of protecting sensitive data, Fraunhofer SIT researchers said on Thursday.
"Our attack demonstration does not imply a bug in BitLocker, nor does it render Trusted Computing useless," said Fraunhofer SIT researchers Jan Steffan and Jan Trukenmüller in a statement. "BitLocker still works as well as other disk-encryption products, it only fails to fulfil an unrealistic yet common expectation."
BitLocker Drive Encryption, found in Vista, Windows 7 and Server 2008 versions of Microsoft Windows, is designed to prevent a thief from viewing protected files by tampering with a lost or stolen PC. If there is a TPM on the computer, this can be used in the encryption and decryption process for extra protection.
Microsoft told ZDNet UK it was aware of the attack, but could not immediately comment.
For more on this story, including how the researchers did it, read "Researchers break into BitLocker" on ZDNet UK.