Organizational Views of NIST Cryptographic Standards and Testing and Validation Programs
Julie M. Haney, Mary F. Theofanos, Yasemin Acar, Sandra S. Prettyman
Cryptography is an essential component of modern computing. Unfortunately, implementing cryptography correctly is a non-trivial undertaking. Past research studies have supported this observation by revealing a multitude of errors and pitfalls in the cryptographic implementations of software products. However, the emphasis of these studies was on the practices of less-experienced, individual developers. Therefore, there is little understanding the cryptographic development practices of organizations, including the benefits and challenges of using cryptographic resources such as standards specifications and libraries. To address this gap, a research team led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Information Technology Laboratory Visualization and Usability Group conducted a qualitative investigation into the processes and resources that organizations employ in the development and testing of cryptographic products. The study involved 21 in-depth interviews of participants representing organizations that develop either a security product that uses cryptography or a non-security product that heavily relies on cryptography. This paper categorizes and enumerates participant comments specific to NIST cryptographic publications and programs, with a goal of informing NISTs future decisions in this space.