Feeds

US encryption relaxation a bit slow

Too little, too late?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

It was expected that the new relaxed rules on data encryption export from the USA would come into effect on Wednesday, but this will not now happen until 14 January, according to an announcement from the Bureau of Export Administration of the US Department of Commerce. The compelling market need is of course to protect e-commerce payments. The problem seems to be that the draft that was circulated by the BEA did not live up to the September announcement of the relaxation, and was also unworkable. Seven countries that the US regards as sponsors of state terrorism will not be allowed to have access to powerful encryption, nor will countries where the US government considers there to be significant money laundering. The pressure for relaxation, which is only from 40-bit to 56-bit keys (baby stuff nowadays), had come from vendors who pointed out that whereas the US used to have essentially the whole market for encryption products, there were in excess of 500 non-US products with 128-bit or greater encryption. The Norwegian-developed Opera browser offers 128-bit encryption, for example. When 56-bit products were specifically allowed to be exported in the past - to financial institutions for example - they had to have a back door for the Feds. The US IT industry is generally of the opinion that the 64,000-fold increase in security by going to 56-bit encryption from 40-bit is not enough. In June last year the Electronic Frontier Foundation confounded the FBI claim that it would take months or years to crack 56-bit keys: the EFF demonstrated this being done in a few hours. In August, the security system used in Internet transactions was cracked by an international effort coordinated by the Dutch National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science (Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica, CWI) in Amsterdam. The RSA-155 code (so-called because the 512-bit numbers in the code have about 155 decimals) was originally developed at MIT. Cracking it required finding the prime factors of a 512-bit number. The factored key is a model of the public key, which is used in the SSL protocol. This means that 512-bit keys are no longer safe against what the team modestly called a "moderately powerful attacker". More bits would help, but the hunt must now be on for something a few orders of magnitude more difficult to crack. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.