Phone reports SD card was encrypted by another device - but it wasn't

Discussion in 'Droid RAZR MAXX' started by appyface, May 10, 2012.

  1. appyface

    appyface New Member

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    I hope someone may be able to help me decrypt my external SD card on my Razr Maxx.

    After some searching, the closest thing I found that might help me, was this thread. But it's unclear to me whether the OP was ever successful at retrieving the contents of her SD card:
    http://www.droidforums.net/forum/droid-razr/207793-sd-card-encrypted-cannot-retrieve.html

    I have been using my Razr Maxx with encryption from the beginning (I bought this phone on 2/29/12 - lucky day? hmmm). Droid version 2.3.6.

    Four times now the phone is not able to read files on the external SD card. In all cases the phone created these files, they are pictures and videos. The phone also successfully displayed/played them back several times, before being unable to read them.

    In the first three cases, there were just a few pictures/videos on the card and none were important. So I just formatted the card and moved on. And all worked as expected until the next time...

    The fourth incident happened yesterday. The pictures and videos on the card I took while on a trip four days ago. I've viewed and played them back successfully several times up until yesterday. I can stand to lose these files if I have to, but I'd really like to recover them if I can.

    I tried rebooting the phone but that didn't change anything. So I dismounted the SD card, then removed it, booted the phone. When I re-insert the SD card, I get these popup messages:

    SD Card Password Protection
    SD card has been secured by another device and cannot be accessed unless formatted

    After acknowledging that popup, then comes this popup:

    SD Card Password Protection
    Failed to verify SD card security settings. Encrypted content is not accessible.

    Acknowledge that popup, and that's that. And the SD card is not mounted. :cus:

    I sure wish I knew what was causing this, so I could prevent it... Wait for ICS maybe?

    Thank you in advance for any help with retrieving the contents and/or preventing this in the future.

    Kind regards,
    --appyface
     
  2. appyface

    appyface New Member

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    I gave up and formatted the card this morning. But I'd sure like to find out what is causing this problem.

    I'd also like to find out if there are any utilities I can use to decrypt the card from my PC, should this happen again? I encrypted my phone using the "password only" option, as I hoped that meant it could be decrypted externally by supplying the password. But as yet I haven't found a utility that can do this -- does anybody know of some?
     
  3. TisMyDroid

    TisMyDroid Silver Member

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    Wow, that is ridiculous. Sorry you also had to go through this. Too late now but my shot in the dark was to suggest removing the sim card and placing it back in again. We have found out that decryption can only happen in the phone that it was encrypted in. The sim card idea was only because maybe it is also tied to the sim identity. We also know that if the phone is reformatted, the ability to decrypt is lost. FoxKat has worked many hours and has been working diligently on solving this issue. Two things of best advice for now is to not encrypt until these quirks are figured out or if you do need to encrypt, save backups of your files frequently.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
     
  4. appyface

    appyface New Member

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    Thanks -- but that's exactly what I did (see my opening post) and then the card could not be mounted at all.

    Before giving up, I also tried restoring the SD card from the backup by MotoUSB (from what I can tell it just copies the files into compressed CABs but doesn't decrypt anything). After restore the phone still could not read those files.

    I chose "password-only" encryption when I set up my phone, knowing that is "less strong" but also thinking the SD card can be decrypted without needing any device info -- whether from mounting to my PC or from within the same or different phone (that supports AES 256 of course). Seems to be a wrong assumption all the way 'round.

    I've posted in the Motorola forums but I see no one there has fared any better (mostly same players as here). I hope Motorola will add a decrypt option to the MotoUSB backup. I can write my backup into a TrueCrypt container so having it written out decrypted first would be very helpful.

    I'm very good about making backups (even if they turn out to be of no use :mad: ) -- but we are all still SOL for recovering any new files since the backup of course! Especially if the phone dies and there is no chance to back up the files.

    I realize the argument is that encryption is meant to keep theives out. It's the very same reason I lock my house. But I also expect to get back in, if I have my key...
     
  5. TisMyDroid

    TisMyDroid Silver Member

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    Unbelievably absurd. So what you are saying is that even though you back the files to your pc, you still can't access them, can't read them? Are the files decrypted before being transferred? If that is not possible to back up a readable file then it makes the feature absolutely useless. The encrypted files are only as good as your phone. Crazy!

    Keep your eye on the other thread because foxkat is working on this. I am sure he will see your situation here and work on trouble shooting it as well... even though not helpful for you now but for future reference for anyone who wants to encrypt.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
     
  6. appyface

    appyface New Member

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    As I wrote above, the files are NOT decrypted by the backup software as far as I can tell. My PC can unpack the backup CAB files into individual files -- but the contents of those files are scrambled (I assumed, by encryption!). I tried copying those unpacked files straight over to the SD card but the phone can't read them.

    And as I wrote above, using MotoUSB restore to phone didn't work either. I assume there must still be some kind of device dependency, even though I chose "password-only" encryption, that isn't part of the MotoUSB backup.
     
  7. TisMyDroid

    TisMyDroid Silver Member

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    Yes, that is what foxkat has found out, that so far to decrypt the files it is phone dependent. And I believe you have to decrypt the file on your phone then back up the decrypted file to your pc in order to open them on your pc.

    You are so right...moto royally failed on this one. You would think that all you should need, no matter where the files are stored, is the password if you choose password only. We have all been baffled by motor's thinking (or lack of thinking) on this.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
     
  8. appyface

    appyface New Member

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    There is no straightforward way to decrypt before backing up either, as far as I can tell. (Except maybe to buy a 3rd party app with lukewarm reviews... )

    To decrypt for a backup, I think the only thing I can do is:
    1. Turn off encryption
    2. Use the phone to copy encrypted files to another location - now they will be written decrypted
    3. Back up the phone
    4. Delete the decrypted files
    5. Turn on encryption

    PITA even for just one file, let alone a 32G SD card's worth of directories and files. And I don't have enough room to decrypt them all and back them up, so would have to do it piecemeal...

    And again this crazy procedure idea relies on the phone being able to read the files in the first place. My phone stopped being able to read the files. True it was several days later and I had already backed up, but what if it happened while I was still on my trip, before I had an opportunity to back them up? Or what if the phone died? The contents of the SD card are apparently lost forever if the phone can't read them...

    Yes I'd say moto failed us on many fronts...
     
  9. FoxKat

    FoxKat Resident Novelist...LOL! Staff Member Premium Member

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    Not an answer to you're issue since we are all working hard to find one, but if you install Motocast on the home PC and set the phone to sync all files and pics, at last those taken while encryption is enabled will be preserved. Also Dropbox is a valuable tool to back up those files to a cloud, although Box is even better since it gives you 50GB free! I actually have all three running for triple redundancy and I am not even using encryption.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Xparent ICS Tapatalk 2
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  10. appyface

    appyface New Member

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    If you were using encryption you'd be in the same boat as me, FoxKat...

    I *am* backing up via MotoUSB (it uses MotoCast). Doesn't matter if I use MotoUSB (using MotoCast) to restore the files, or if I unpack them from the backup CABs manually and copy the individual files to the card. Phone can't read the files either way...
     
  11. appyface

    appyface New Member

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    And dropbox is no help either since the phone does not DECRYPT. I'm just backing up encrypted files that at some point, the phone can no longer read.

    Recall my opening post, "something" happens and the phone stops being able to read the files, that it had been reading just fine prior. Four times now, and I still don't know what causes this. I can't tie it to software upgrades, booting the phone, mounting via USB cable then switching back to charging, etc. I do all of those things regularly and can't deliberately recreate the issue.

    The only thing I've found that absolutely guarantees I can't read the files, is a factory reset on the phone. EVEN THOUGH I AM USING PASSWORD-ONLY encryption option, the phone is not able to read these files after a factory reset. But that is NOT the reason for the four random failures... I just did the first factory reset TODAY on a *working* phone -- as part of trying to find a workaround for when this happens to me again in the future.
     
  12. FoxKat

    FoxKat Resident Novelist...LOL! Staff Member Premium Member

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    Update:

    My phone which was Factory restored, but the SD cards were not wiped, is now asking for a password on an SD card that was not encrypted! I had done some experiments yesterday and on Friday in attempt to lay down a true procedure manual for this encryption feature. I had done the Factory reset BEFORE implementing encryption, then took an old SD card that I had laying around which was already formatted and had some data on it. I placed it into the phone, turned on the Lock Screen, set a 4 digit pin, then turned on encryption, and chose "Password" (as you did).

    Then I copied ONE JPG file over to the card. Next, I removed the card and inserted it into the card reader on my desktop and attempted to read the data. To my surprise, the file opened up without a hitch. So I then turned off encryption on the phone, inserted the card back in and it asked for the password. I punched in the pin and the card opened successfully. So WHERE'S THE ENCRYPTION?

    So after that failed test, I removed the "encrypted" card, and replaced my non-encrypted card. I read that card and there was no problem there either. Then I removed that card, did another Factory restore and spent the next couple hours setting my phone back up the way I like it, and re-inserted my non-encrypted SD card back into the phone. As expected, the card opened up and activated without any request for a password.

    Fast forward to today, almost as if it were listening to you and I when I was responding to your post above, the following took place.

    I noticed the phone was being sluggish so I decided to do a reboot. When the phone rebooted, I payed no attention to it since I was doing other things. I came out to the family room to sit and follow up with the forum and respond to you and others. After posting the one preceding this, I turned the phone on and to my surprise, the following screen popped up:

    View attachment 50032


    So I typed in the pin I used to originally lock the phone - the one used to encrypt the phone with the "Password" method on the OTHER CARD, and BEFORE the last Factory restore, and the phone accepted the pin and moved on.

    Now, although I did insert that card WHILE the phone had encryption enabled, I did NOT transfer any files to that card, and removed it BEFORE the Factory restore, so there was NO reason to believe that card would be encrypted. Furthermore, I had inserted that card into the phone AFTER the Factory restore yesterday and it opened WITHOUT a password and continued to operate normally all evening and night. The phone does NOT have a lock screen pin set, and encryption is NOT on. It was only after the reboot with the card in the phone that the phone asked for the password.

    I am getting a new phone in a couple days. I plan to set up that new phone, and then spend the next few days "playing" with this one. I will do a full Fastboot back to .173, then the OTA to .181, and then will run it through the encryption paces. My plan is to try to build a matrix of what works how, and what doesn't, to create a sort of "dos and don'ts" for encryption. I don't know what levels of success I will have, but judging from the very minimal test above, I'm prepared for some very strange and possibly non-reproduceable results.

    For now, I recommend NOBODY IMPLEMENT ENCRYPTION for ANY reason, as it seems to be FAR MORE TROUBLE THAN IT'S WORTH. If you need to carry files that can not be stolen, I suggest you download 7z Format or WinZip® - AES Encryption Information, or AES (256-bit) - CNET Download.com (if you don't also want to compact), and use those tools to encrypt. For added security, visit WEP Key Generator and choose your desired level of protection to generate a completely random and secure key with which to encrypt. MAKE SURE YOU SAVE THAT KEY in a safe place, as it will be long and difficult to remember and virtually impossible to guess (that's the point). With that method, you can move secure files from location to location and even if someone finds your lost phone and can get past the lock screen they won't be able to read or decrypt the data on the internal or removable SD cards (unlike the internal encryption which would invite them in with open arms).

    I will keep the group updated with my results once the new phone arrives (Monday or Tuesday).
     
  13. FoxKat

    FoxKat Resident Novelist...LOL! Staff Member Premium Member

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    I realize that. Read my last post for more information. My fears are that once encryption is activated on a phone, even a Factory restore doesn't completely disconnect it internally and somehow it is still trying to be involved in file storage and transfer.
     
  14. FoxKat

    FoxKat Resident Novelist...LOL! Staff Member Premium Member

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    Again, I completely concur. This is why I say avoid Motorola Blur AES 256 Encryption on Motorola Droid RAZR and Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX (as well as any other models it appears on with Gingerbread or later OS), like the PLAGUE! :mad:

    And perhaps you misunderstood my suggestions for Dropbox, Box, and Motocast. I meant to use them IN PLACE OF encryption, NOT WITH. I am taking my position on the top of the highest peak and shouting throughout the lands...

    STAY AWAY FROM AES 256 ENCRYPTION ON MOTOROLA PHONES!!!
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2012
  15. TisMyDroid

    TisMyDroid Silver Member

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    I am curious, when you were able to decrypt and open the files on your phone when it was working, were you able to save those decrypted files to a pc? Or were you never able to save the decrypted files to your pc? Or did you try to save them to a pc while they were decrypted but they saved as encrypted? Or did you only save the encrypted files to a pc without decrypting them first?

    And one of the unfortunate things that has been discovered is that apparently once you reformat your phone, you no longer can decrypt the encrypted files on your phone. Which we all agree is pretty lame.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR Maxx using Droid Forums
     
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