NIST drops random number generator under suspicion of NSA tampering

For those of you who don’t know, certain forms of analysis require the usage of random number generators. A basic example of this can be found in even in the most widespread of programs like Microsoft Excel.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) has discovered weaknesses in a number generating algorithm, and it is essentially blaming the NSA for creating backdoors to these generators. Randomness is crucial for different types of analysis/modeling. If your numbers are not random, it will adversely affect your analysis. Accusations like these are not new, however. NIST will no longer be using the algorithm – the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator.

Another interesting tidbit from the article:

NIST advised in September against using the DUAL_EC_DRBG module, shortly after news reports based on leaks from Edward Snowden appeared to confirm earlier suggestions dating from the algorithm’s 2006 publication that the NSA inserted a backdoor into it.

 

NIST drops random number generator under suspicion of NSA tampering

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