Moving away from NIST

Jon Callas, a leading cryptographer, is issuing a new version of Silent Circle, which by default uses only non NIST cryptography.

It was necessary to change the curves, since the NIST curves are probably backdoored. It was arguably not necessary to change the symmetric encryption and the hash, since they are unlikely to be backdoored. Nonetheless, he replaced AES with Twofish, and SHA with Skein-MAC.

absolutely, this is an emotional response. It’s protest. Intellectually, I believe that AES and SHA2 are not compromised. Emotionally, I am angry and I want to distance myself from even the suggestion that I am standing with the NSA. As Coderman and Iang put it, I want to *signal* my fury. I am so pissed off about this stuff that I don’t *care* about baby and bathwater, wheat and chaff, or whatever else. I also want to signal reassurance to the people who use my system that yes, I actually give a damn about this issue.

By moving away from anything NIST has touched he deprives the NSA of leverage to insert backdoors, contributing to the general good, from which his company, and thus himself also benefits. By opposing the NSA, he gives his company credibility that they will not secretly play footsy with the NSA behind closed doors, reassuring his customers and contributing to the particular good of his company and himself.

2 Responses to “Moving away from NIST”

  1. Handle says:

    Well, if it becomes a problem for USG, he’ll just get shut down then.

  2. Alrenous says:

    It was dumb to rely on anything with ‘national’ in the name in the first place.

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