Feature Request #2282

Add cryptsetup emergency self destruction

Anonymous - about 5 years ago - . Updated about 5 years ago.

% Done:



There must be emergency self destruction in cryptsetup so if user is forced to say passphrase, they can use self destruction passphrase to make decryption impossible. for patches.



Updated by Anonymous about 5 years ago

Tried to build using upstream and kali/master branches, there is no luksAddNuke.


Updated by bill-auger about 5 years ago

this seems like a feature request better proposed to the upstream - have you asked them?


Updated by freemor about 5 years ago

Interesting idea.. but legally likely to get you into more trouble then out of it.

In most jurisdictions;
  • destruction of evidence is illegal
  • lying to the cops/etc is illegal

In some jurisdictions you can be legally compelled to provide passwords (as in the right one) giving them the wrong one and then not being able to provide a correct one could land you in serious trouble.

I'm not saying any of these are reasons for us not to provide it. But people need to be aware that this is probably gonna get you in more trouble.

Also a lot of authorities are smart enough these days to shoulder surf and grab your device once you unlock it and only then announce their presence.


Updated by Anonymous about 5 years ago

IIRC, this feature was rejected by upstream.
Sometimes, illegal rubber‐hose cryptoanalysis may be used.


Updated by Anonymous about 5 years ago


Updated by Anonymous about 5 years ago

Also, the user could lie about password being forgotten and try to guess, providing nuke password.


Updated by freemor about 5 years ago

REad through the Upstreams reasoning and pasting it below to save people the scrolling and to preserve it for this issue if the link goes dead at some future date. Their reasoning is strong, and in line with some of what I said above. I feel that this is probably best left as something a motivated user can compile and install them selves (against all the below reasoning). If they really want it.

From the Upstream link above:

* 5.21 Why is there no "Nuke-Option"?

  A "Nuke-Option" or "Kill-switch" is a password that when entered upon
  unlocking instead wipes the header and all passwords.  So when
  somebody forces you to enter your password, you can destroy the data

  While this sounds attractive at first glance, it does not make sense
  once a real security analysis is done.  One problem is that you have
  to have some kind of HSM (Hardware Security Module) in order to
  implement it securely.  In the movies, a HSM starts to smoke and melt
  once the Nuke-Option has been activated.  In reality, it just wipes
  some battery-backed RAM cells.  A proper HSM costs something like
  20'000...100'000 EUR/USD and there a Nuke-Option may make some sense. 
  BTW, a chipcard or a TPM is not a HSM, although some vendors are
  promoting that myth.

  Now, a proper HSMs will have a wipe option but not a Nuke-Option,
  i.e.  you can explicitly wipe the HSM, but by a different process
  than unlocking it takes.  Why is that?  Simple: If somebody can force
  you to reveal passwords, then they can also do bad things to you if
  you do not or if you enter a nuke password instead.  Think locking
  you up for a few years for "destroying evidence" or for far longer
  and without trial for being a "terrorist suspect".  No HSM maker will
  want to expose its customers to that risk.

  Now think of the typical LUKS application scenario, i.e. disk
  encryption.  Usually the ones forcing you to hand over your password
  will have access to the disk as well, and, if they have any real
  suspicion, they will mirror your disk before entering anything
  supplied by you.  This neatly negates any Nuke-Option.  If they have
  no suspicion (just harassing people that cross some border for
  example), the Nuke-Option would work, but see above about likely
  negative consequences and remember that a Nuke-Option may not work
  reliably on SSD and hybrid drives anyways.

  Hence my advice is to never take data that you do not want to reveal
  into any such situation in the first place.  There is no need to
  transfer data on physical carriers today.  The Internet makes it
  quite possible to transfer data between arbitrary places and modern
  encryption makes it secure.  If you do it right, nobody will even be
  able to identify source or destination.  (How to do that is out of
  scope of this document.  It does require advanced skills in this age
  of pervasive surveillance.)

  Hence, LUKS has not kill option because it would do much more harm
  than good.

  Still, if you have a good use-case (i.e. non-abstract real-world
  situation) where a Nuke-Option would actually be beneficial, please
  let me know.

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