Paper 2023/1529

Shufflecake: Plausible Deniability for Multiple Hidden Filesystems on Linux

Elia Anzuoni, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Tommaso Gagliardoni, Kudelski (Switzerland)

We present Shufflecake, a new plausible deniability design to hide the existence of encrypted data on a storage medium making it very difficult for an adversary to prove the existence of such data. Shufflecake can be considered a ``spiritual successor'' of tools such as TrueCrypt and VeraCrypt, but vastly improved: it works natively on Linux, it supports any filesystem of choice, and can manage multiple volumes per device, so to make deniability of the existence of hidden partitions really plausible. Compared to ORAM-based solutions, Shufflecake is extremely fast and simpler but does not offer native protection against multi-snapshot adversaries. However, we discuss security extensions that are made possible by its architecture, and we show evidence why these extensions might be enough to thwart more powerful adversaries. We implemented Shufflecake as an in-kernel tool for Linux, adding useful features, and we benchmarked its performance showing only a minor slowdown compared to a base encrypted system. We believe Shufflecake represents a useful tool for people whose freedom of expression is threatened by repressive authorities or dangerous criminal organizations, in particular: whistleblowers, investigative journalists, and activists for human rights in oppressive regimes.

Note: A 15-page abstract of this work appears (with the same title) in the proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS) 2023. This is the authors' full version. This revision date: 2023-12-07. This document supersedes any previous versions.

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Publication info
Published elsewhere. Major revision. ACM CCS 2023
ShufflecakeTrueCryptVeraCryptplausible deniabilityprivacyforensicsdisk encryptionLUKSdm-cryptcryptsetup
Contact author(s)
elianzuoni @ gmail com
sflc2023ccs @ gagliardoni net
2023-12-07: revised
2023-10-06: received
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      author = {Elia Anzuoni and Tommaso Gagliardoni},
      title = {Shufflecake: Plausible Deniability for Multiple Hidden Filesystems on Linux},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2023/1529},
      year = {2023},
      doi = {10.1145/3576915.3623126},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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