Security company RSA was paid $10 million to use the flawed Dual_EC_DRBG pseudorandom number generating algorithm as the default algorithm in its BSafe crypto library, according to sources speaking to Reuters.
The Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm is included in the NIST-approved crypto standard SP 800-90 and has been viewed with suspicion since shortly after its inclusion in the 2006 specification. In 2007, researchers from Microsoft showed that the algorithm could be backdoored: if certain relationships between numbers included within the algorithm were known to an attacker, then that attacker could predict all the numbers generated by the algorithm.

These suspicions of backdooring seemed to be confirmed this September with the news that the National Security Agency had worked to undermine crypto standards.
The impact of this backdooring seemed low.

The 2007 research, combined with Dual_EC_DRBG’s poor performance, meant that the algorithm was largely ignored. Most software didn’t implement it, and the software that did generally didn’t use it.

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