Safe decryption with GnuPG?

Philipp Gühring pg at
Wed Feb 6 02:22:09 CET 2008


> 1.
> The decrypted information must not make it to any persistent medium
> (I understand gpg '-d' already guarantees it
> as long as it manages the decrypted text,
>  but what happens after it leaves gpg?)

Use a full-disc encryption system for all your persistent media.

> 2.
> The decrypted text must not be stored in volatile memory
> any longer than it is needed.

You can use TaintedBochs or TaintedQemu to investigate that.

> In particular, it should be converted to a human-viewable bitmap
> and the computer-readable representation must be immediately erased.

Doesn´t help much to try that, I would say. But feel free to try ...

> 3. Only the information I need should be displayed.

You need a Do-What-I-Mean system for that.

> 4.
> The bitmap must not be updated automatically
> (the containing window must not display it
> when it is in the background, whatever it means).
> (It would be best to forget the bitmap altogether
> and regenerate it upon request,
> but it seems to be a hard thing to do
> because the gpg output stream is not scrollable backwards).

Use Overlay mode to display it.

> 5.
> The bitmap itself should not make it to any persistent medium
> and it should be scrambled, if possible, in the volatile memory.

Implement the viewer in the graphic card, with the CUDA SDK or something 

> 6.
> It should not be possible
> to make a snapshot of the graphic in the window
> with any programmatic means
> (you can of course make a picture of the screen with a camera).

Overlay mode does that.

> 7.
> If more information is requested,
> it should be displayed in small chunks.
> The program should be fully unaware
> of the content of the chunks that are not being displayed.

> (That probably means a garbage-collected language cannot be used).

I don´t understand why you need that. 
I would suggest that you seperate the small chunks into seperated encrypted 
files, to ensure that the reader only gets those chunks that you actually 

> 8.
> The application should be as lightweight as possible
> (for source code audit).


> Can you direct me to some implementation meeting these requirements?

I think your specification isn´t complete yet. You forgot about half of the 

I guess that:

* You want a machine that seperates code from data (to be secure against  
trojans, virii and other malware)

* You want secure documents, that can´t change dynamically, or otherwise 
contain invisible contents

* You want a secure path to the user

(and some more requirements that I forgot at the moment)

What´s your budget for this small project?

Best regards,
Philipp Gühring

More information about the Gnupg-users mailing list