Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

InformationWeek Home

Researchers: RSA Adopted Second Tool That Might Have Helped NSA Surveillance

RSA adopted a technology extension for secure websites that may have allowed faster cracking of RSA's flawed Dual Elliptic Curve.

A group of university researchers has discovered that the RSA security company adopted a second tool that may have made it easier for the National Security Agency to spy on users.

According to an exclusive news report published Monday by Reuters, a group of professors from Johns Hopkins, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Illinois is planning to publish a report which states that RSA adopted a technology called the “Extended Random” extension for secure websites, which may have allowed faster cracking of RSA’s flawed Dual Elliptic Curve technology.

RSA has been under fire since December, when Reuters reported that the security company had accepted $10 million to use the security-flawed Dual Elliptic Curve encryption technology, which allegedly provided a "back door" that enabled the NSA to tap encrypted electronic communications.

According to a preview of the university research that was provided to Reuters, the Extended Random extension could help crack a version of RSA’s Dual Elliptic Curve software tens of thousand times faster.

In response to the research, RSA told Reuters that it had not intentionally weakened the security of any product and that Extended Random had been removed from RSA’s software within the last six months because it was not popular.

"We could have been more skeptical of NSA's intentions," RSA Chief Technologist Sam Curry told Reuters. "We trusted them because they are charged with security for the US government and US critical infrastructure."

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Randy Naramore
50%
50%
Randy Naramore,
User Rank: Ninja
4/1/2014 | 3:33:36 PM
Re: Trust but don't verify
Whether you are RSA or a major retailer (Target), this type of "bad press" will make CIOs or CISOs think long and hard about deploying apps or in this case extensions that can reflect badly on your organization. Before pushing out an app like this, much security testing should have been performed and it may have been but apparently it was not enough. Target apparently was warned about the potentially vulnerable POS devices but refused to act appropriately. I think maybe they are second guessing that decision now.
securityaffairs
50%
50%
securityaffairs,
User Rank: Ninja
4/1/2014 | 3:11:53 PM
Re: Trust but don't verify
In Italy we say that two clues are a test. The situation is really embarrassing, a real disaster for the American cyber security industry.
The distrust of the U.S. government and major companies who collaborate with it could have serious repercussions on a global scale in the coming months.
Sara Peters
50%
50%
Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
4/1/2014 | 10:10:24 AM
Trust but don't verify
I'm a forgiving gal, so I want to give RSA the benefit of the doubt... but I don't know if I can. I hope that they've taken some lesson from this, and that they'll start getting the technologists more involved in the business decisions that contributed to this debacle. I also hope that the engineers have incorporated some new process to check for this kind of nonsense in the future.
5 Ways to Up Your Threat Management Game
Wayne Reynolds, Advisory CISO, Kudelski Security,  2/26/2020
Exploitation, Phishing Top Worries for Mobile Users
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/28/2020
Kr00k Wi-Fi Vulnerability Affected a Billion Devices
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/26/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
Data breaches and regulations have forced organizations to pay closer attention to the security incident response function. However, security leaders may be overestimating their ability to detect and respond to security incidents. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-3006
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-28
On the QFX3500 and QFX3600 platforms, the number of bytes collected from the RANDOM_INTERRUPT entropy source when the device boots up is insufficient, possibly leading to weak or duplicate SSH keys or self-signed SSL/TLS certificates. Entropy increases after the system has been up and running for so...
CVE-2015-5361
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-28
Background For regular, unencrypted FTP traffic, the FTP ALG can inspect the unencrypted control channel and open related sessions for the FTP data channel. These related sessions (gates) are specific to source and destination IPs and ports of client and server. The design intent of the ftps-extensi...
CVE-2020-6803
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-28
An open redirect is present on the gateway's login page, which could cause a user to be redirected to a malicious site after logging in.
CVE-2020-6804
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-28
A reflected XSS vulnerability exists within the gateway, allowing an attacker to craft a specialized URL which could steal the user's authentication token. When combined with CVE-2020-6803, an attacker could fully compromise the system.
CVE-2019-4301
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-28
BigFix Self-Service Application (SSA) is vulnerable to arbitrary code execution if Javascript code is included in Running Message or Post Message HTML.