[Update] Full Volume Encryption on DSM 7.2 Beta is broken (looks like it will be updated)


Synology has finally added the ability to fully encrypt an entire volume, rather than having to encrypt ever single shared folder. With this it also removed the restriction on having only 143 characters in a file name to get encryption, plus snapshots can now be visible! Great! Right?

Response from Synology

A bug report was filed with Synology about this. The reply was:

Our developer team confirmed that as of now on the DSM 7.2 beta, that this is expected behavior.
That is currently all of the information that I can say or share about this presently.

Updated response:

After posting the video the following comment was posted:

Thanks for the feedback.
This is expected behavior as of the first DSM 7.2 Beta. The responsible team is working on the mechanism to unmount the encrypted volume if a reset is performed. This will prevent access to data on encrypted volumes even if both the system and drives are compromised.

THIS IS GREAT NEWS Turns out that there was a miscommunication between me and Synology! It hopefully will be resolved by 7.2 release.

How the Keys are Stored

The encryption keys for the volumes are now stored in a Key Vault, which I thought was similar to the key manager used by shared folder encryption. The vault can be stored in one of two places: locally (the default, and what 99% of synologys will use) or KMIP to another Synology (really designed for large businesses). This key vault automatically mounts the volumes on boot, which for volume encryption makes a ton of sense! The problem is it allows anyone with phyical access to the NAS FULL CONTROL

How anyone can steal your “encrypted” data

The encryption keys pretty much do nothing if someone gets physical access to the NAS if stored locally. This is all it takes to steal your encrypted data:

What they need:

  • Physical access to the NAS
  • A paperclip

Steps to view, edit, or delete your ‘encrypted’ data:

Step 1) Perform a soft reset on the NAS

Take a paperclip or any other thin object and hold the reset button for 6 seconds, release when you hear the first beep. Further info here.

Step 2) Change the password of an administrator

After you do a soft reset you can change the administer password by logging in as the user ‘admin’ with no password

It will then allow you to change the password of any user, so just set the administer account to a password you choose.

Step 3) Login with the password you just changed.

Thats really it. Log in and all the encrypted volumes are still mounted, and will still be mounted after a reboot. You have admin access to all of the data.

My thoughts:

The Key Issue

Encrypting data on a NAS is meant to protect you from physical attack. It is meant to make sure that if someone gets physical access to the NAS and walks away with it that they cannot access the data. In this case, with the default local key store, that is simply not the case.

Soft Reset is NOT the issue

Your first thought might be ‘well Synology should disable the soft reset all together’ this is not the case. The soft reset is really important as it allows users to get into their NAS if they forget their password, or screw up firewall rules. They should be able to access all unencrypted data without issue.

What SHOULD happen

The Key Vault should be stored as a machine key, just like it is with encrypted shared folders. When the NAS is soft reset the machine key is flushed, and has to be reentered to mount any encrypted volumes. This gives the best of both worlds where you can encrypt your data, and have it automatically mount on boot really easily. But if someone walks off with the NAS or the drives, and does not have admin login info, they cant get in!


I want to put this out there as a reminder: this is just the beta version. It’s quite possible that they key manager was not quite ready so they just left it as a local volume for the beta version of this software and it will be real when the full release is out.

Please please Synology fix this before full release

Video going over this:

I have a video coming out 3/15 here that I will link here that shows how this works, and how it SHOULD work

Thank you, Will! Hopefully they will fix this major, glaring lapse in security, when the production version is released.

@Sean.Kane I got an update that they are planning to fix this by the full release of the software!

@Will - I’m thinking your thorough analysis and video help! Thank you for your good work!

Good analysis. Looking forward to them fixing this. Have you checked if this problem is also in the RC version?

Has this been fixed in 7.2 RC?

It has! Now the encryption keys are flushed and you are all good!

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Nice one, thanks @Will

I’m going to nuke my current set up to reload it with full volume encryption over the weekend. I would like to preserve all my config and data, would you say that using Hyper Backup and backing up all the apps and Folders to external HDD will restore my set up like for like? (for the most part at least)

I watched all your backup videos (thanks by the way! you’ve been instrumental in getting me going!!) and consideirng that i only have one NAS and can’t clone to a spare one I think that Hyper Backup copy to an external HDD is the best way to to then restore my system?


edit: just seen your msot recent 7.2 video and from the sounds of it you have a video coming out that will potentially answer my question! :crossed_fingers: :slight_smile:

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