Freezing RAM chips

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ﮎingulaЯiτy

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Freezing RAM chips
« on: November 04, 2011, 11:29:41 PM »
Apparently if you freeze the ram chips in a computer you can yank them out and plug them in somewhere else without them losing all of their data.

https://freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/felten/new-research-result-cold-boot-attacks-disk-encryption
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ﮎingulaЯiτy

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2011, 09:44:29 PM »
Why is it that of the thread I start, the topics I think are the most interesting get the least responses...

This creates an easy workaround for many complex security safeguards.
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Lorddave

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2011, 11:09:58 PM »
Why is it that of the thread I start, the topics I think are the most interesting get the least responses...

This creates an easy workaround for many complex security safeguards.
I found it interesting but found nothing to say on the subject.  Yes it's a work around, but it requires you to be able to get into someone's office with either a can of air or some liquid nitrogen.  It also requires you to get into said office while said computer is on.

Now, IF your data is secure enough to warrant a theft that requires actual breaking and entering of a room, then it's likely that your security isn't limited to the work station and you do both of the following:
1. Lock your office door.
2. Turn off your computer when not in use.

Hell, even just a simple lock on the PC case will require some bolt cutters, which makes you a hell of a lot more conspicuous as you walk into someone's office.

The only time I can see this as being useful is with laptops that the user puts into hibernation when he closes the lid, allowing you to steal the laptop and getting it out of there for as long as you need.
However, if your data is that sensitive and you use your laptop that much, I would think that a flash drive or dedicated server that you can VPN into with an encrypted cellular link would be far more effective.
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Son of Orospu

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2011, 11:54:39 PM »

The only time I can see this as being useful is with laptops that the user puts into hibernation when he closes the lid, allowing you to steal the laptop and getting it out of there for as long as you need.


I may be wrong, but I thought that when a computer hibernates, the memory is written to the hard drive and the process is reversed when the computer wakes up.  If this is the case, then there is no need to freeze the memory, the data is on the hard drive.

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Parsifal

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2011, 12:06:21 AM »

The only time I can see this as being useful is with laptops that the user puts into hibernation when he closes the lid, allowing you to steal the laptop and getting it out of there for as long as you need.


I may be wrong, but I thought that when a computer hibernates, the memory is written to the hard drive and the process is reversed when the computer wakes up.  If this is the case, then there is no need to freeze the memory, the data is on the hard drive.

Correct, but "hibernate" is a stupid term. The term "suspend to disk" (like "suspend to RAM" instead of "standby") is more descriptive.
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Son of Orospu

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2011, 12:19:24 AM »
Correct, but "hibernate" is a stupid term. The term "suspend to disk" (like "suspend to RAM" instead of "standby") is more descriptive.

It probably has to do with the fact that most people don't care for technical terms.  They understand words like sleep mode, standby, and hibernation, though.

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General Disarray

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2011, 08:00:42 AM »
I found it interesting but found nothing to say on the subject. 
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PizzaPlanet

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2011, 08:04:19 AM »
I found it interesting but found nothing to say on the subject. 
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Lorddave

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2011, 09:07:42 AM »

The only time I can see this as being useful is with laptops that the user puts into hibernation when he closes the lid, allowing you to steal the laptop and getting it out of there for as long as you need.


I may be wrong, but I thought that when a computer hibernates, the memory is written to the hard drive and the process is reversed when the computer wakes up.  If this is the case, then there is no need to freeze the memory, the data is on the hard drive.
Which makes me wonder, how does a bitlocked drive come out of "suspend to disk" if the data needed to be put back into RAM is encrypted?  Or does it no encrypt that data?
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General Disarray

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2011, 09:10:23 AM »
I just thought of something relevant:

Reading the data off the RAM stick would require you to either put it in a machine that does not alter it upon startup, or hot-swap it into a machine programmed to only read it. Is that possible?
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Lorddave

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2011, 09:18:52 AM »
I just thought of something relevant:

Reading the data off the RAM stick would require you to either put it in a machine that does not alter it upon startup, or hot-swap it into a machine programmed to only read it. Is that possible?
Should be. Just have an OS programmed to not write to a specific memory address range or hardware slot.
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PizzaPlanet

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Re: Freezing RAM chips
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2011, 04:33:55 PM »
Is that possible?
Yes. It is commonly done in police investigations, except with hard drives and memory sticks. For data to be used as evidence, they have to be collected under circumstances that make it impossible for the files to be altered in any way.
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