Re: [ISN] NSA Declassifies Algorithms

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Fri Jun 26 1998 - 03:57:08 PDT

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    Reply From: joey miller <omiat_private>
    this is sort of interesting.  i have a paper (skipjack.txt, lemme know if
    anyone wants it), dated 1993, and written by a team of guys from AT&T,
    Sandia labs, Amperif, Georgetown Univ, etc, and it's basically the first
    (as far as 1993 is concerned), outsiders review of skipjack, and in it,
    they conclude basically that skipjack is a strong algorithm, immune to a
    lot of cryptanalytic attacks, but the classified nature of it must remain,
    otherwise people would be able to remove the LEAF (key escrow stuff) 
    portion, yet still have a rather strong encryption that is still
    compatible with other (standard, with the key escrowing enabled) skipjack
    devices/etc   ... now, this makes me believe the release of the source is
    either a good thing, as it can be used as the basis for a better algorithm
    w/out key escrow, or that the gov't has finally given up on the Clipper
    chip, and anything else based on Skipjack...
    > Forwarded From: "Jay D. Dyson" <jdysonat_private>
    > Originally From: John Young <jyaat_private>
    > Thanks to Ed Roback, NIST:
    > DoD Press Release, June 23, 1998:
    >  No. 316-78
    > June 23, 1998
    > (703)695-0192(media)
    > (703)697-5737(public/industry)
    > The Department of Defense today announced the decision by the National
    > Security Agency to declassify both the Key Exchange Algorithm and the
    > SKIPJACK encryption algorithm used in the FORTEZZA(tm) personal computer
    > card. FORTEZZA(tm) provides security at the desktop in the Defense Message
    > System and other DoD applications. This marks the first time that the NSA
    > has declassified such information and made it commercially available. 
    > This declassification is an essential part of the Department of Defense's
    > efforts to work with commercial industry in developing reasonably priced
    > computer protection products. This declassification decision will enable
    > industry to develop software and smartcard based security products, which
    > are interoperable with FORTEZZA(tm). The availability of such products
    > will enhance the protection of DoD's sensitive but unclassified and
    > critical non-mission communications. 
    > The decision to release SKIPJACK (an 80 bit encryption algorithm that is
    > not extensible to higher key lengths) and KEA (a 1024 bit key exchange
    > algorithm) is restricted to these particular algorithms, and does not
    > apply to other classified NSA algorithms. The SKIPJACK and KEA algorithms
    > and their source codes have been declassified pursuant to Executive Order
    > 12958.
    > Vendors interested in obtaining more information on this matter should
    > contact the National Security Agency Public Affairs Office at
    > 301-688-6524.
    > [End]
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