[dm-crypt] How to recover partially overwritten LUKS volume?

András Korn korn.andras at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 17:07:14 CEST 2012

On Sat, Aug 25, 2012 at 1:20 PM, Arno Wagner <arno at wagner.name> wrote:
> > At this point, I made a mistake. I re-created the degraded array with:
> >
> > mdadm --create /dev/md2 --level=5 --raid-devices=4 --assume-clean
> > missing /dev/sda4 /dev/sdc4 /dev/sdb4
> >
> > However, I forgot to specify --metadata=0.90 (which the original array
> Not good. Never, ever, ever recreate RAID arrays, filesystems,
> etc. without a full binary backup of the originals, unless you
> are prepared to lose all data that was on the devices.

This is very good advice and I often give it too. :)

> > used). I immediately rectified this, but by then mdadm had written a
> > raid superblock somewhere where originally there was none, and now
> > trying to luksOpen the volume with a known good passphrase results in
> > "No key available with this passphrase".
> The default is metadata 1.2 for current mdadm. That put the
> superblock at 4k from the start and right in the middle of the
> first key-slot.
> > I still have the drive I removed, intact.
> It is unlikely but possible that what you lost is on there.

The original RAID5 array used a chunksize of 64k, which seems to
suggest that the first 64k of the 0th device (which is the one I had
removed) should still contain the overwritten LUKS data; however, the
header was considerably larger than 64k (see below), so it seems I'm
out of luck.

> To determine this you would need to find out where exactly the
> mdadm superbloick landed, extract the rest of the key-slot
> and see whether you dinf that on the removed disk. If so,
> you may have the data missing from the key-slot on the
> removed disk.

The trouble is though that three of four disks were overwritten...

> > I have some backups but they're older than I'd like; is there anything
> > sensible I might to that could help me recover the LUKS volume?
> Not really. The only faint hope is to have the missing data
> on the removed disk. Nothing else that I can see. Chances are
> roughly 25% that the missing part is on the removed disk.

Even if it was RAID device #0 in the original array? Its first four
bytes do say LUKS, and cryptsetup appears to recognise it as a LUKS
device (if I try to luksOpen it separately).

> So unless you want to do some serious digging through raw
> disk data on sector-level (and possibly writing some tools
> for that yourself), no, nothing sensible.

I'd be up to some digging and tool-writing, but I don't know what it
is I should be doing. :)

I think the data area that got overwritten on disks #1, #2 and #3 was
intact on disk #0, but that didn't help (see below).

> > My first idea is to re-create the array with the removed drive
> > included (making sure to specify the metadata version). T
> Don't do that! It will likely only destroy more data.

I meant using copies, of course.

That's what I did now: I copied the first and last 96MB of all four
partitions to equally sized partitions on four other disks and tried
to re-create the array with the correct parameters using these. The
parameters are known correct now (metadata version, disk order as well
as chunksize).

However, luksOpen still says "No key available with this passphrase."

Would it make sense to try a luksFormat with the same passphrase? I
suppose not, because a random key is likely involved...?

I also assume that using more than the first and last 96MB of each
partition won't do much good either, right?

Am I correct in surmising that I'm screwed?

> You can try to puzzle the header back together
> on different media, you do not need a data area.
> You can alos use a detached header (newer cryptsetup)
> and work in a file. As soon as you get an unlock, you
> can then try to repair the old header with the recovered
> one, but not before.

How would I proceed with the detached header? Dump the header from the
corrupted (and reassembled) RAID array into a file and experiment with
that? How is that better than using a (partial) copy of the corrupted

luksHeaderBackup produces a file that is 528384 bytes in size. This is
more than 8 RAID chunks, so it was certainly hit by the new RAID
superblock in 3 places (on disks #1, #2 and #3).

luksDump says:

Version:        1
Cipher name:    aes
Cipher mode:    cbc-essiv:sha256
Hash spec:      sha1
Payload offset: 1032
MK bits:        128
MK digest:      b9 68 70 a2 ac ca f7 f6 f6 8f b8 ba 33 59 3c 61 f3 e0 68 98
MK salt:        4a 42 a9 ab e0 74 0f ee 8a 98 5b f8 d7 80 f7 73
                da a4 dd 16 5f 2e 18 48 f9 28 c7 7e e9 07 5f bf
MK iterations:  10
UUID:           5852d626-0428-4382-bca6-c04350559ceb

Key Slot 0: ENABLED
        Iterations:             141780
        Salt:                   58 a9 bb e9 4d 31 03 54 1b b1 85 27 24 73 5f e0
                                63 52 18 cd 4f 3b ff fb 5f ed 26 b8 40 dd c7 b4
        Key material offset:    8
        AF stripes:             4000
Key Slot 1: ENABLED
        Iterations:             95596
        Salt:                   41 fc a7 02 38 4d ff 6d d1 39 fb 6f 8f 3a 0f 0a
                                16 e0 e9 a6 b6 b2 86 e8 ae 01 f7 fc 41 6b 2e b4
        Key material offset:    136
        AF stripes:             4000
Key Slot 2: ENABLED
        Iterations:             109766
        Salt:                   cd 00 34 39 60 d3 0b d3 d8 c5 b6 72 b3 a1 cd 01
                                77 a8 d4 84 0e bf 67 5c c2 73 b2 7e b7 ca de 75
        Key material offset:    264
        AF stripes:             4000
Key Slot 3: DISABLED
Key Slot 4: DISABLED
Key Slot 5: DISABLED
Key Slot 6: DISABLED
Key Slot 7: DISABLED

FWIW, I know all three keyphrases but none of them work.


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