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Cryptographic Standards Statement

September 10, 2013

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Contact: Gail Porter
301-975-3392

Recent news reports have questioned the cryptographic standards development process at NIST. We want to assure the IT cybersecurity community that the transparent, public process used to rigorously vet our standards is still in place.

NIST would not deliberately weaken a cryptographic standard. We will continue in our mission to work with the cryptographic community to create the strongest possible encryption standards for the U.S. government and industry at large.

There has been some confusion about the standards development process and the role of different organizations in it. NIST’s mandate is to develop standards and guidelines to protect federal information and information systems. Because of the high degree of confidence in NIST standards, many private industry groups also voluntarily adopt these standards.

NIST has a long history of extensive collaboration with the world’s cryptography experts to support robust encryption. The National Security Agency (NSA) participates in the NIST cryptography development process because of its recognized expertise. NIST is also required by statute to consult with the NSA.

Recognizing community concern regarding some specific standards, we reopened the public comment period for Special Publication 800-90A and draft Special Publications 800-90B and 800-90C to give the public a second opportunity to view and comment on the standards.

If vulnerabilities are found in these or any other NIST standards, we will work with the cryptographic community to address them as quickly as possible.