A random number generating algorithm under suspicion of National Security Agency tampering will no longer carry government approval.
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