American NIST Denies That The NSA Has Been Able To Weaken Encryption Standards

/ 5 years ago


America’s NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology, has released a public statement to address concerns about encryption recently raised by fresh Snowden-leaks. The NIST stated that it has not let the NSA weaken or influence encryption standards in any way. It does state that it cooperates with the NSA but that this cooperation isn’t detrimental to encryption standards.

“NIST would not deliberately weaken a cryptographic standard. We will continue in our mission to work with the cryptographic community to create the strongest possible encryption standards for the U.S. government and industry at large…We want to assure the IT cybersecurity community that the transparent, public process used to rigorously vet our standards is still in place.”

The key thing to note though is that it states it hasn’t “deliberately weakened” any cryptographic standards. Of course that doesn’t rule out the possibility that weakening of standards occurred in needing to comply with NSA legal requests for back doors, that would be a non-deliberate side effect. Even if the NSA’s cooperation did result in weakened standards the chances are the NIST wouldn’t be legally allowed to discuss such matters.

The NIST also added that if presented with any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in its encryption standards it would endeavour to fix these quickly.

Image courtesy of NIST

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