Utimacos Safeguard Easy broken by danish police in tax evation ca se

Bo Elkjær bo.elkjaer at eb.dk
Tue Aug 7 16:51:08 EDT 2001

The german encryption program Safeguard Easy has been broken by the danish
police. Today the police from the city Holstebro in Jutland presented
evidence in court, that was provided after breaking the encryption on five
out of sixteen computers that where seized april 25 this year.

All 16 computers were protected with Safeguard Easy from the german
encryption provider Utimaco. It is not known whether DES, 128-bit IDEA,
Blowfish or Stealth was used as algorithm on the computers. All four
algorithms are built in Safeguard Easy. Details are sparse. It is not known
how the encryption was broken, whether it was brute forced or flaws in the
program was exploited.

The computers where seized from the humanitarian (leftwing) foundation Tvind
(Humana) in connection with a case about tax evation. Among the evidence
provided from the encrypted computers were emails sent among the leaders of
the foundation, Poul Jorgensen and Mogens Amdi Petersen describing transfers
of large sums of money.

Apparantly, but not confirmed, british Scotland Yard has been involved in
breaking the encryption. The danish police doesn't have the capacity to
break encryption by themselves. Neither has the danish civilian intelligence
service. Routine is that cases concerning encryption is handed over to the
danish defence intelligence service DDIS. This procedure has been described
earlier this year by the danish minister of justice in connection with
another case. DDIS denies involvement with the Tvind case.

Employees and leaders at Tvind has denied handing over their passwords to
the computers. One even wrote a public letter mocking the chief of police in
Holstebro, describing how he changed his password weekly, and stating that
he'd probably even forgotten his password by now. At a time, the police
concidered putting employees in custody until passwords were handed over.

Thats all for now

Bo Elkjaer, Denmark

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