Newsletters
Customer Relationship Management News NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home CRM Systems Customer Service Contact Centers Business Intelligence More Topics...
APC Free White Paper
Optimize your network investment &
Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Note

www.apc.com
World Wide Web
Tame your scariest paperwork. Find Out How
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Researchers Find NSA Planted Two Spy Tools through RSA
Researchers Find NSA Planted Two Spy Tools through RSA

By Barry Levine
March 31, 2014 2:54PM

Bookmark and Share
A team of professors has reportedly concluded that U.S. National Security Agency is even more untrustworthy than previously thought. The NSA apparently implemented not one but two encryption tools distributed through security firm RSA to make it easier to eavesdrop on Web transmissions. RSA trusted the NSA since it's charged with U.S. security.
 



Last fall, an encryption tool widely distributed through leading security firm RSA was withdrawn because of concerns it was vulnerable to decoding by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), which created it. Now, a team of researchers has reported that the super-secret agency also created at least one other tool that allowed it to more easily decode transmissions.

Both tools were part of RSA's BSafe software security package, and both are assumed to have provided back-door access to communications and software encrypted with BSafe tools.

The Reuters news agency reported Monday that a team of academic researchers from several universities, including Johns Hopkins, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Illinois, has discovered the NSA was involved with the second tool. It's called an "Extended Random" extension, and it can be used to crack the RSA's Dual Elliptic Curve random number generator software -- the other NSA developed tool that had been withdrawn -- tens of thousands of times faster than other methods.

NIST and NSA

The Extended Random software is supposed to increase the randomness of Dual Elliptic Curve-generated numbers, thus making its encoding more secure. However, the researchers discovered that the extra data transmitted by Extended Random before a secure connection begins made decoding the the following transmission much easier.

The Extended Random software was removed from RSA's BSafe security kit within the last six months. Reportedly, Extended Random had not been widely adopted.

"We trusted [the NSA] because they are charged with security" for the U.S., a RSA executive told Reuters.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) had accepted an NSA proposal in 2006 to create the Dual Elliptic Curve random number generator. There had subsequently been suspicions and reports -- including from Microsoft researchers -- that the resulting code from the NSA contained a back door.

Snowden Documents

But NIST reportedly accepted it because other governmental agencies were using it. In December, Reuters reported that the NSA had paid RSA $10 million to make the Dual Elliptic Curve the default for its BSafe security kit. RSA has declined to comment on the possibility that the NSA also paid the company a fee for including Extended Random in the kit.

After documents revealed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden indicated the NSA was involved in community cryptography standards in order to create vulnerabilities it could exploit, NIST issued a warning in September than the Dual Elliptic Curve code "no longer be used."

After the NIST warning, RSA warned its customers, since the code was being widely used for security. A random number generator is common in cryptography, but a generator that is not random is more easily hacked. Some experts have contended, however, that only the NSA had the capability of breaking this particular generator.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:





 World Wide Web
1.   Facebook To Force Use of Messenger
2.   OkCupid Experiments with Daters
3.   Zillow Buys Trulia for $3.5 Billion
4.   Competition Spurs Ultra-Fast Internet
5.   Google Buys Streaming Site Twitch


advertisement
Radical.FM's Freemium Biz Model
Online radio startup asks for donations.
Average Rating:
Facebook Social Experiment Irks Us
Secretive test was legal, but ethical?
Average Rating:
OkCupid Experiments with Daters
Unethical without user consent?
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Canadian Government Charges China With Cyberattack
The government of Canada is not happy with China. Canadian officials have accused "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" of launching a cyberattack on its National Research Council.
 
Researchers Working To Fix Tor Security Exploit
Developers for the Tor privacy browser are scrambling to fix a bug revealed Monday that researchers say could allow hackers, or government surveillance agencies, to track users online.
 
Wall Street Journal Hacked Again
Hacked again. That’s the story at the Wall Street Journal this week as the newspaper reports that the computer systems housing some of its news graphics were breached. Customers not affected -- yet.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Updates MacBook Pros, Cuts Prices Up to $100
The popular MacBook Pro laptop line just got an update and a price cut of as much as $100. The MacBook Pro with Retina display now includes faster processors and double the memory.
 
Watson Gets His First Customer Service Gig
Since appearing on Jeopardy, IBM's Watson supercomputer has been making a living using his super-intelligent knowledge base for business verticals. Now, Watson's been hired for his first customer service job.
 
Tablet Giants Apple and Samsung Feel the Heat
When a company saturates its home market with a once-hot product, expect it to pump up efforts elsewhere. Apple, for its part, is now pushing iPads to big corporations and the enterprise market.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Android 'Fake ID' Puts Millions of Users at Risk
Having this fake ID is nothing to brag about, even if you are a minor. The “Fake ID” Android flaw drops malware into smartphone apps. It can steal credit card data and even take over your device.
 
FTC Wants Fix for 'Perfect Scam' of Mobile Cramming
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has issued new guidelines to curb “mobile cramming,” a troublesome practice that adds unauthorized third-party charges to mobile phone bills.
 
Facebook: You Will Use Messenger, and You Will Like It
Starting this week, Facebook users with Android and iOS phones will be forced to use the separate Messenger app to send Facebook messages. Pending messages will still be visible in the main app.
 

Navigation
CRM Daily
Home/Top News | CRM Systems | Customer Service | Contact Centers | Business Intelligence | Sales & Marketing | Customer Data | CRM Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.