updated 12:46 pm EDT, Thu May 29, 2014
Encryption tool used by Edward Snowden updates to decryption only, closes
The official pages for cryptography tool TrueCrypt have suddenly changed, claiming that users shouldn't use the utility as development has ceased and it may "contain unfixed security issues." A new version of the app has been posted, removing the ability to create new encrypted volumes, but still allowing decryption of existing volumes.
TrueCrypt was an open-source freeware application used for on-the-fly encryption. It could create a virtual encrypted disk within a file, encrypt a disk partition, or the entire storage device with pre-boot authentication. In the wake of the Snowden revelations, a non-profit agency was crowdfunded and created to audit the utility's encryption methodology, with the first phase of the report having been completed in April.
The full posting at the TrueCrypt site says that "This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt. The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms. You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform." It is unclear what the support termination of Windows XP has to do with the death of the TrueCrypt platform.
Despite some Internet uncertainty and conspiracy theories around the sudden death of the popular tool, the new release is certified with the TrueCrypt private signing key, suggesting that the release is authentic from the secretive developer team. The repository hosting the utility, SourceForge claims that there is "no indicator of account compromise" and "current usage is consistent with past usage." Additionally, the last major update was over two years ago with limited support on newer operating systems, so all signs point to the program being abandoned, rather than interfered with by external forces.