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Kill dodgy RNG says NIST

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NIST has said what we already knew: the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator, Dual_EC_DRBG, is a dead duck and should be abandoned by anyone still using it.

In this document, the US standards-setter is seeking comment on the final version of its Recommendation for Random Number Generation Using Deterministic Random Bit Generators document.

NIST's recommendation merely formalises advice it gave in 2013 when debate over the weak random number generator first emerged, courtesy of the “RSA scandal” in which it was alleged that the NSA had not only championed use of the weak random number generator, but that RSA had been paid to insert Dual_EC_DRBG and use it by default.

In spite of the “old news” nature of the announcement, it's something that matters to vendors, since NIST notes that ditching Dual_EC_DRBG is mandatory for any vendors that want their products to comply with US federal government guidance. Vendors, the standards body says, should not await further revisions to the recommendation document.

Users of crypto products who have been living under a rock, and therefore haven't already reconfigured their systems to use one of the other available random number generators, are reminded to do so now.

The alternative random number modules endorsed by NIST are Hash_DRBG, HMAC_DRBG, or CTR_DRBG. ®

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