RSA refused claims on NSA Relationship and encryption backdoor

11:30 ET, 24 December 2013

RSA published a blog post to deny the accusation about secret partnership with the National Security Agency and the use of flawed algorithm in its product.

A couple of days ago on Internet was spread the news that Security firm RSA has signed a $10 million contract with the National Security Agency (NSA) to mantain a flawed encryption mechanism in its BSAFE product to facilitate NSA surveillance.

The Reuters agency was the first to reveale the uncomfortable truth based on documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden have confirmed the existence of backdoor in some technologies RSA.

The RSA has denied the accusation about any secret partnership with the National Security Agency publishing an exhaustive blog post to respond to media claims on the partnership with the Agency. Following the most interesting abstracts from the post:

“Recent press coverage has asserted that RSA entered into a “secret contract” with the NSA to incorporate a known flawed random number generator into its BSAFE encryption libraries. We categorically deny this allegation.”

“We have never entered into any contract or engaged in any project with the intention of weakening RSA’s products”

The RSA provided the following motivation for choosing and promoting the flawed Dual EC DRBG:

“We made the decision to use Dual EC DRBG as the default in the BSAFE tool-kit in 2004, in the context of an industry-wide effort to develop newer, stronger methods of encryption. At that time, the NSA had a trusted role in the community-wide effort to strengthen, not weaken, encryption.”

The backdoor was found by by security expert Bruce Schneier in 2007 that totally changed the perception of strength of any encryption process based on the flawed algorithm.

“The Dual EC DRBG was one of several different random number generators available and the customers was free to choose whichever one best suited their needs”

RSA remarked that he has warned its customers not to use the algorithm, but no reference is produced in the post to the claim to have accepted money the NSA, but in my opinion the strange thing is why RSA is continuing to use the flawed algorithm till 2013 as a default algorithm in BSAFE. A security product must ban a flawed algorithm but the post make no reference to the possibility to exclude it from the RSA solution. Users are advised, so not use the flawed algorithm even if it is still present in the RSA solution … but the problem is who can we trust?

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  NSA, encryption backdoor)







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