January 1, 2014

A New Dual EC DRBG Flaw

The dual elliptic curve deterministic random bit generator (Dual EC DRBG) cryptographic algorithm has a dubious history—it is believed to have been backdoored by the US National Security Agency (NSA)—but is mandated by the FIPS 140-2 US government cryptographic standard. That means that any cryptographic library project that is interested in getting FIPS 140-2 certified needs to implement the discredited random number algorithm. But, since certified libraries cannot change a single line—even to fix major, fatal bugs—having a non-working version of Dual EC DRBG may actually be the best defense against the backdoor. Interestingly, that is exactly where the OpenSSL projectfinds itself.

Read more at LWN