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Mocana Purges NSA-Compromised Key-Generation Scheme From Its Popular Nanocrypto Embedded Security Engine

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., October 16, 2013 – Mocana, the app security leader, issued a security advisory and announced an update to its NanoCrypto™ embedded security engine software (www.mocana.com/nanocrypto) that removes the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual_EC_DRBG) algorithm, an algorithm that was previously promoted as a cryptographically secure key generation method by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Mocana’s action is the result of recent Edward Snowden document revelations that the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm contains a vulnerability that likely enables US intelligence agencies to easily decrypt communications protected with the algorithm. The algorithm was designated as a standard (SP 800-90A) by NIST in 2006, at least in part because of endorsement and promotion by the NSA. Earlier this month, NIST warned against using Dual_EC_DRBG until scientists determine the full extent of the algorithm’s weaknesses.

“By default, Mocana’s NanoCrypto product uses FIPS 186 pseudorandom number generation, but the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm was available as an option. We have decided to remove the Dual_EC_DRBG libraries from NanoCrypto entirely to protect our customers,” said Kurt Stammberger, CISSP, vice president of market development at Mocana. “We recommend that our customers review their previous software builds to make sure they did not enable this algorithm.”

The Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm was one of three random number generators made available to developers in the previous versions of the NanoCrypto product. Mocana’s NanoCrypto software is one of the world’s most popular security engines for cellular handset makers and embedded device manufacturers of all kinds, with tens of millions of installations worldwide.

“Many embedded devices, like those in smart grid, industrial automation, medical and automotive applications, are not easy to update or patch, so NSA’s actions are going to impose a non-trivial cost on some device manufacturers as they endeavor to update devices already in the field,” Stammberger added.

Mobile, app and device developers that would like more information about the new version of NanoCrypto (5.8) should email sales@mocana.com or visit the NanoCrypto product page at https://www.mocana.com/nanocrypto/. A copy of the Mocana security advisory is also available there.

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