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Thread: SD card encrypted, cannot retrieve

  1. Droid Ninja
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    #41
    Quote Originally Posted by FoxKat View Post
    Adding to the thread...

    I brought to work today a spare MicroSD Card and reader. My plan is to encrypt the card, save some data I can afford to lose (already backed up), then do a factory reset without removing the card, and then try to restore the data on the freshly reset phone. If I am correct, that's the steps that the OP followed...not by her own decision - mind you, but on recommendation of those so skillful Verizon Technical Support representatives (LOL!) My hopes are that I can either reproduce the problem she suffered or find a solution directly since I don't have her phone and card to work with in my hands.

    I will mention one thing...I am on ICS Leak (the first one), so my results may be skewed by that. If I can restore successfully, I may Fastboot back to .173 and try again, then once again with .181.

    Wish me luck!
    I was thinking about doing this but didn't really want to do a factory reset on my phone. Partly a reset is appealing to me - start fresh and all that - but it works fine now and, as my mother used to say, "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

    If you're on ICS and reset, won't you lose that? If so, it would seem easier to just go to .181 (which the OP probably has) and then run the test. But who am I to deprive you of your fun!
  2. Super Moderator
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    #42
    Quote Originally Posted by SallyC View Post
    I was thinking about doing this but didn't really want to do a factory reset on my phone. Partly a reset is appealing to me - start fresh and all that - but it works fine now and, as my mother used to say, "If it ain't broke don't fix it."

    If you're on ICS and reset, won't you lose that? If so, it would seem easier to just go to .181 (which the OP probably has) and then run the test. But who am I to deprive you of your fun!
    Good question, and the answer is...well, no - it should boot back into ICS Leak considering that's the ROM that's in the Flash ROM at the moment. Now, could it bugger up...yeah. That's a risk but at least I can still FB back to .173 or .181 and start over again.

    Update: I have been swamped at work today and haven't yet performed the tests. I plan to try and set aside time VERY LATE tonight to give it a go. Sorry.

    "Professor FoxKat"
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    #43
    OK, so here's what I've discovered.

    You do need to set up a screen lock (either pin or password), in order to activate encryption - that much we've known already. Here's where it gets interesting (or should I say slippery?).

    You can encrypt in one of three ways;

    1. Device (where the encryption key is automatically generated by the phone - and I'm assuming uses the MEID/IMEI, especially based upon the warning which follows) This is the default choice. If you encrypt this way, you can only decrypt with the same device, and "storage data cannot be decrypted outside the device". HMMM... So that implies that data CAN be decrypted outside the device with another method or tool. Let's move on.
    2. Password (where the same password or pin you used to set up the screen lock is used to generate the encryption key). This method must be selected manually and...are you ready...is described as "storage data cannot be decrypted without your password", but it says NOTHING about needing to do so in the device. This further implies that there can be a decryption tool/algorithm/application - perhaps running on a PC for instance, that can decrypt that data as long as you have "your password". Makes sense, right? I mean, encryption is only a mathematical formula with a "seed" or "key". If you have the formula, and you have the key, it need not run on any specific device.
    3. Device+Password (a blend of the two above). This also says "can not be decrypted outside the device AND without your password". So option 3 is similar to option one with an added layer of security. A key and a lock box, versus just a key.

    Now, ALL THREE methods also lead you to believe that the data can be "decrypted" if you have the necessary parts. In the cases of 1 and 3, you need the phone (and I take it to mean the EXACT PHONE, IMEI/MEID, everything), and additionally in the case of 3, you also need the password. In the case of number 2, you either need the phone, and for that matter, ANY phone that has that type of encryption, along with the password, OR any OTHER device that has the same encryption algorithm and the password, and you should be able to decrypt.

    To the OP - Sam (BeyondReprieve), do you remember which of the three options you chose, or did you simply accept the default choice? If so, it shouldn't ask for a password if the card is inserted into the same phone, and if it does, DON'T TYPE ONE IN! Just hit OK or the Enter key.

    If you did select option 2 above, then the password is where we're lacking, and if you chose option 3, well I think we both know what that means. Without both the right phone and the right password, we're done.

    Did you ever get the original phone to boot successfully since the last attempts? I SURE hope so! We may be only one button-press away from you unlocking those files. I pray that is the case.

    Please let us know.

    I didn't get to do the trials yet. Life and work had stepped in the way. I am not here to draw sympathy so I won't elaborate. I do however want to get to the bottom of this once and for all. This appears to be a ticking time-bomb for many and they probably don't even know it. Unless we can successfully reproduce full decryption repeatedly AFTER Factory resets, there are lots of people out there who will potentially suffer similar losses to what you may have suffered. If there's any way I can help to prevent that, I will.

    I've decided that doing the tests in ICS Leak is flawed science, since it's a different ROM than you were running, so I'll have to Fastboot back and give it a whirl on the Gingerbread ROMs. This will take some time. If you and others can wait, great. If not, my apologies.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by FoxKat; 05-10-2012 at 01:07 AM.
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    #44
    Quote Originally Posted by SallyC View Post
    Do we know that the encryption is tied to the card and not the files? In other words, that the people with this problem can't copy the encrypted files to their pc and reformat the card, then at some point in time decrypt them either on their pc or copy them back to the reformatted SD and decrypt them when/if this is figured out?
    This is also a good hypothesis, but I wouldn't risk it. For the cost of a replacement card, if she simply tucks that one away, eventually SOMEONE will come up with a tool to crack it. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Well, Sam has proven there is a necessity, and I want her to be "the mother of invention" if it's not already out there!

    "Professor FoxKat"
    "Saving DROID Razr's, one battery at a time. :-)" - (credit SallyC)
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  5. Droid Ninja
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    #45
    Great work, FoxKat!!!!!!!!! Very informative for all of us. It's good to know Motorola makes it clear heading into it that some options require that device to decrypt and that you can select an option that does not.

    I do believe Sam has the original phone working, but said it wouldn't accept her password (post #23) so that's another variable.

    I hope your day goes smoothly - and you can catch a nap! Name:  asleep-045.gif
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  6. Rescue Squad
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    #46
    I wonder if this would work... if she was to take the original phone, put in her sim card, activated the old phone as if she were to use it as her phone, put in the encrypted sd card, and try to decrypt it from her old phone once it is activated. It may work and I don't think that has been tried yet. Maybe the secret is the phone has to be activated.

    If that did work, then she can copy the files to her computer via usb from her old phone, check to make sure she can open the files from her pc, and once it is all done (with hope and a prayer, crossed fingers, great fortune), Sam can then reactivate the new phone and gladly return the old phone.

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  7. Droid Ninja
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    #47
    It's possible, TisMyDroid, but there's nothing in what FoxKat read that says the phone must be activated. If I understand OP post #23 the problem was that it wasn't accepting any password she gave it. So it sounds like she was getting to the right screen, but she and the phone were having a bit of a disagreement about what the password is.
  8. Rescue Squad
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    #48
    Yeah, I have no idea but wonder if the secret to getting the phone to recognize the password is that it needs to be activated with the sim card. Who knows but worth a try.

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    #49
    Quote Originally Posted by TisMyDroid View Post
    I wonder if this would work... if she was to take the original phone, put in her sim card, activated the old phone as if she were to use it as her phone, put in the encrypted sd card, and try to decrypt it from her old phone once it is activated. It may work and I don't think that has been tried yet. Maybe the secret is the phone has to be activated.

    If that did work, then she can copy the files to her computer via usb from her old phone, check to make sure she can open the files from her pc, and once it is all done (with hope and a prayer, crossed fingers, great fortune), Sam can then reactivate the new phone and gladly return the old phone.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
    Quote Originally Posted by SallyC View Post
    It's possible, TisMyDroid, but there's nothing in what FoxKat read that says the phone must be activated. If I understand OP post #23 the problem was that it wasn't accepting any password she gave it. So it sounds like she was getting to the right screen, but she and the phone were having a bit of a disagreement about what the password is.
    Quote Originally Posted by TisMyDroid View Post
    Yeah, I have no idea but wonder if the secret to getting the phone to recognize the password is that it needs to be activated with the sim card. Who knows but worth a try.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
    Correct on all accounts, but now I understand that the OP can't even get into the old phone. God how I wish I had those devices in my hands. I suspect that she may now be a candidate for a Fastboot flash on the old phone to get back to square one.

    I am also quickly coming to the conclusion that AES 256 encryption is a standard and as long as Motorola remained true to the standard, a "Password" encrypted file from the Motorola Android overlay should be able to be decrypted by ANY AES 256 encryption software. Here's a free one (AES Crypt - Downloads for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Java) that plugs into the right-click options on Windows. I tried it with a couple quick encrypt/decrypt runs with PICs that were on my hard drive and it works beautifully. I just have to get a sample file from a phone that has been encrypted with password only (lock screen password), and dump it to the PC and try it out. Does anybody have a sample PIC in encryption that they could send me?

    EDIT: P.S. You must be STOCK Gingerbread either .173 or .181 to be sure of compatibility if you are going to try to help me.
    Last edited by FoxKat; 05-10-2012 at 02:13 PM.

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  10. Rescue Squad
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    #50
    Wow, so crazy, absolutely ludicrous to go through this just because you encrypt your card. We are so lucky to have you to help figure this nonsense out. Moto, Verizon or someone needs to include a warning as part of the encryption process that in the event your phone crashes, becomes ruined, lost or stolen you may lose all contents to your encrypted card...unless you seek the assistance of a FoxKat, aka Master problem solver.

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