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.

Risk

2/25/2014
08:21 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Coviello: RSA Security's Work With NSA 'A Matter Of Public Record'

RSA chairman calls for global intelligence community reforms, spinning IAD off from NSA

RSA CONFERENCE 2014 -- San Francisco -- RSA Security executive chairman Art Coviello in his keynote address here today addressed publicly for the first time the security company's relationship with the National Security Agency (NSA), which he said mainly has entailed working with NSA's Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), the cyberdefense arm of the agency.

RSA Conference 2014
Click here for more articles about the RSA Conference.

Coviello stopped short of specifically addressing details of the December Reuters report that the NSA in 2006 had paid RSA $10 million in a secret contract to use the Dual EC DRBG random-number generator algorithm in its Bsafe software in order to facilitate the NSA's spying programs. The encryption algorithm reportedly was one that the NSA was able to crack.

"We've been doing business with the NSA for a long time. It's a matter of public record," Coviello said in an interview with Dark Reading after his keynote. "We have worked with the IAD on the defense side of the house. My purpose in the speech was to really get us past the NSA issue and the raise the level of the dialogue."

In a Dec. 22 blog post responsing to allegations of an NSA secret contract, RSA dismissed reports that it had a secret pact with the NSA, stating that "we have never entered into any contract or engaged in any project with the intention of weakening RSA's products, or introducing potential 'backdoors' into our products for anyone's use."

Coviello in his keynote today said RSA supports NIST's new proposal for creating encryption standards, as well as the recommendation by the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies that calls for spinning off the NSA's IAD. The goal of removing IAD from the spy agency is to narrow the NSA's role as a foreign intelligence agency.

"Sadly, much of the great work of the IAD is getting lost in the feeding frenzy around this controversy," Coviello said in his speech. "It's not only sad, it's dangerous for the country. However it's done, creating greater separation between the offensive and defensive roles of the NSA would go far to repair relations and to rebuild trust."

The RSA executive also called for several reforms to the international intelligence community. "All intelligence agencies around the world need to adopt a governance model that enables them to do more to defend us and less to offend us," he said.

Coviello called for some "societal norms" for the digital world: the rejection of the use of cyberweapons and for using the Internet for war; international cooperation in the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of cybercriminals; the protection of commerce and intellectual property on the Net; and the preservation of privacy of individuals.

"It's not just NSA. All of the intelligence agencies have to come to grips that these digital norms don't exist and they need to be created," he told Dark Reading.

He says the NSA "missed the opportunity" to provide transparency of its operations. "If they need to encroach on privacy in some form or fashion, it needs to be strictly governed, and so people feel comfortable about that process, it needs to be transparent so people can get visibility into how that governance model is actually being acted upon," he said in the interview. "The NSA missed the opportunity to give people that transparency. A lot in the press about the NSA is just not accurate."

Coviello's keynote kicked off an RSA Conference abuzz with isolated speaker boycotts of the event due to the RSA-NSA allegations and an alternative conference, called TrustyCon, planned for Thursday next door to the convention center housing the RSA Conference. Many of the speakers and discussions have centered around the debate over the scope of the NSA's surveillance programs in the wake of NSA documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In September, NIST recommended that software developers refrain from using the Dual EC DRBG algorithm in the wake of the Snowden leaks, and RSA "immediately ... took steps to remove the algorithm from use," Coviello said in his keynote.

Marc Maiffret, CTO of BeyondTrust, says most security firms have worked with NSA's IAD in security standards efforts, for example, and he doesn't think there was any conspiracy associated with the NSA's involvement in security standards work.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...