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[liberationtech] NYTimes and Guardian on NSA

Richard Brooks rrb at acm.org
Fri Sep 6 08:01:55 PDT 2013


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> They have two jobs: to monitor foreign communication, and to secure
> domestic communication against foreign monitoring.
> 
> http://www.nsa.gov/about/mission/
> 
> The argument for trusting NSA/NIST crypto standards has historically
> been that weak crypto would make the first job easier but the second
> job harder. We now have to re-examine that argument and ask whether
> the NSA has been gambling with the security of US commercial,
> government and military data (up to top secret level - the highest
> level that relies on NSA/NIST-published standards) in order to further
> its surveillance mission.
> 
That has always been an inherent conflict. It is, however,
difficult to decouple the cryptography and cryptanalysis
expertise.

Interestingly, with the DES standard there were some changes
introduced by NSA that were thought at the time to be backdoors,
since they were never justified.

Many years later, the community realized that these changes made
some obscure attacks less likely.



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