RSA Response to Media Claims Regarding NSA Relationship

December 22, 2013

Recent press coverage has asserted that RSA entered into a “secret contract” with the NSA to incorporate a known flawed random number generator into its BSAFE encryption libraries.  We categorically deny this allegation.

We have worked with the NSA, both as a vendor and an active member of the security community. We have never kept this relationship a secret and in fact have openly publicized it. Our explicit goal has always been to strengthen commercial and government security.

Key points about our use of Dual EC DRBG in BSAFE are as follows:

  • We made the decision to use Dual EC DRBG as the default in BSAFE toolkits in 2004, in the context of an industry-wide effort to develop newer, stronger methods of encryption. At that time, the NSA had a trusted role in the community-wide effort to strengthen, not weaken, encryption.
  • This algorithm is only one of multiple choices available within BSAFE toolkits, and users have always been free to choose whichever one best suits their needs.
  • We continued using the algorithm as an option within BSAFE toolkits as it gained acceptance as a NIST standard and because of its value in FIPS compliance. When concern surfaced around the algorithm in 2007, we continued to rely upon NIST as the arbiter of that discussion.
  • When NIST issued new guidance recommending no further use of this algorithm in September 2013, we adhered to that guidance, communicated that recommendation to customers and discussed the change openly in the media.

RSA, as a security company, never divulges details of customer engagements, but we also categorically state 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.


RSA, The Security Division of EMC


September 20, 2013

RSA Follow-on to NIST Guidance


Following NIST’s decision to strongly recommend against the use of the community developed encryption algorithm standard (known as Dual EC DRBG), RSA determined it appropriate to issue an advisory to all our RSA BSAFE and RSA Data Protection Manager customers recommending they choose one of the different cryptographic Pseudo-Random Number Generators (PRNG) built into the RSA BSAFE toolkit. We are now working with customers to ensure they are using the strongest and safest cryptographic methods possible.

RSA always acts in the best interest of its customers and under no circumstances does RSA design or enable any backdoors in our products. Decisions about the features and functionality of RSA products are our own.

RSA, The Security Division of EMC


About RSA

RSA, The Security Division of EMC, is the premier provider of security, risk, and compliance- management solutions for business acceleration. RSA helps the world’s leading organizations succeed by solving their most complex and sensitive security challenges. These challenges include managing organizational risk, safeguarding mobile access and collaboration, proving compliance, and securing virtual and cloud environments. Combining business-critical controls in identity assurance, encryption & key management, SIEM, Data Loss Prevention, and Fraud Protection with industry-leading GRC capabilities and robust consulting services, RSA brings visibility and trust to millions of user identities, the transactions that they perform, and the data that is generated. For more information, please visit www.EMC.com/RSA. RSA and EMC are either registered trademarks or trademarks of EMC Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.