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RSA responded saying that it had no idea the NSA algorithm was flawed

Former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has brought many NSA secrets to light this year, the most recent being a "secret" contract between the agency and security industry leader RSA. 
According to more documents leaked by Snowden, the NSA entered into a $10 million contract with RSA to place a flawed formula within encryption software (which is widely used in personal computers and other products) to obtain "back door" access to data. 
The RSA software that contained the flawed formula was called Bsafe, which was meant to increase security in computers. The formula was an algorithm called Dual Elliptic Curve, and it was created within the NSA. RSA started using it in 2004 even before the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) approved it. 
According to the RSA, it had no idea that the algorithm was flawed, or that it gave the NSA back door access to countless computers and devices. The NSA reportedly sold the algorithm as an enhancement to security without letting the RSA in on its real intentions. 
In fact, RSA responded to media reports about its contract with the NSA, saying it was never secret at all. It said the fact that RSA worked with NSA was always made public, but that RSA had no idea the government agency was actually sabotaging its encryption product. 

"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," said RSA in a blog post.

"We have worked with the NSA, both as a vendor and an active member of the security community. We have never kept this relationship a secret and in fact have openly publicized it. Our explicit goal has always been to strengthen commercial and government security."

Many in the security community were surprised at RSA's entanglement with the NSA, but the latest news of a $10 million contract as well has really shocked the industry.

RSA is known as a pioneer in the realm of computer security, and has notoriously fought off the NSA in previous attempts at breaking encryption. 

Back in the 1990s, RSA -- which was started by MIT professors in the 1970s and is now a subsidiary of EMC Corp. -- rallied against the Clinton administration's "Clipper Chip," which was supposed to be a required component in computers and phones that would allow government officials to bypass encryption with a warrant.

RSA created a public campaign against the Clipper Chip, and it was eventually tossed out. However, it resorted to export controls to stop enhanced cryptography from crossing U.S. borders, and RSA fought further. RSA then established an Australian division that could ship the products it wanted.

RSA told customers to stop using the NSA formula in Bsafe when NIST issued new guidance in September 2013.

Source: RSA

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By Ammohunt on 12/23/2013 12:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
Selinux is also a product of the NSA makes you wonder.

RE: selinux
By JasonMick on 12/23/2013 1:15:00 PM , Rating: 1
Selinux is also a product of the NSA makes you wonder.
If true, this could compromise much of the internet's supposed security, as SSL certificates use ECDSA.

This could be hugely exploitable, not just to the NSA, but to any cybercriminal who can reverse engineer the flaw.

And here we have yet one more reason why Microsoft, Google, et al. are currently handling the NSA like a well-funded cybercriminal.

The agency is clearly using traditionally criminal tactics, e.g. digital insider sabotage and such.

RE: selinux
By Argon18 on 12/23/2013 1:18:28 PM , Rating: 1
As the 800 lb gorilla, you are delusional if you think Microsoft does not have NSA back-doors in its products. The press release spokesperson at Microsoft of course has plausible deniability. Besides, isn't saying "Microsoft" and "security" in the same sentence an oxymoron?

RE: selinux
By Argon18 on 12/23/2013 1:20:30 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft is pretty good about putting exploitable back-doors into its own products, it doesn't need the NSA's help for that. Lol.

RE: selinux
By GulWestfale on 12/23/2013 2:33:28 PM , Rating: 3
ah, i miss the days when searching for "NSA back door access" meant browsing through craigslist looking for desperate hookers...

RE: selinux
By edelbrp on 12/23/2013 5:27:11 PM , Rating: 4
SELinux is a sort of sandboxing function in the kernel. The NSA implemented it to meet internal requirements and they released it as open-source. It has been rewritten and picked apart over the last 13 years. It would be incredible if any sort of elaborate backdoor were still in existence (if there ever was one). Still, though, it does raise some eyebrows.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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