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Message Authentication Code (MAC) Validation System: Requirements and Procedures



Miles E. Smid, Elaine B. Barker, David Balenson, Martha E. Haykin


The National Bureau of Standards Message Authentication Code (MAC) Validation System (MVS) tests message authentication devices for conformance to two data authentication standards: Federal Information Processing Standard Publication (FIPS PUB) 113, "Computer Data Authentication," and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) X9.9-1986, "Financial Institution Message Authentication (Wholesale)." The MVS is designed to perform automated testing on message authentication devices which are remote to NBS. This publication provides brief overviews of the two data authentication standards and introduces the basic design and configuration of the MVS. The requirements and administrative procedures to be followed by those seeking formal NBS validation of a message authentication device are presented. The requirements described include the specific protocols for communication between the message authentication device under test (DUT) and the MVS, the types of tests which the DUT must pass for formal NBS validation, and general instructions for accessing and interfacing to the MVS. An appendix with examples illustrating the MVS testing protocol is provided.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 500-156
Report Number


automated testing, computer security, cryptography, Data Encryption Standard (DES), data integrity, message authentication, validation


Smid, M. , Barker, E. , Balenson, D. and Haykin, M. (1988), Message Authentication Code (MAC) Validation System: Requirements and Procedures, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created May 1, 1988, Updated November 10, 2018