[cryptography] Dual EC backdoor was patented by Certicom?

Kevin kevinsisco61784 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 15 12:20:22 EDT 2014

On 6/15/2014 9:13 AM, ianG wrote:
> In what is now a long running saga, we have more news on the DUAL_EC
> backdoor injected into the standards processes.  In a rather unusual
> twist, it appears that Certicom's Dan Brown and Scott Vanstone attempted
> to patent the backdoor in Dual EC in or around January of 2005.  From
> Tanja Lange & DJB:
> ========
> https://projectbullrun.org/dual-ec/patent.html
>     ... It has therefore been identified by the applicant that this
> method potentially possesses a trapdoor, whereby standardizers or
> implementers of the algorithm may possess a piece of information with
> which they can use a single output and an instantiation of the RNG to
> determine all future states and output of the RNG, thereby completely
> compromising its security.
> The provisional patent application also describes ideas of how to make
> random numbers available to "trusted law enforcement agents" or other
> "escrow administrators".
> =========
> This appears to be before ANSI/NIST finished standardising DUAL_EC as a
> RNG, that is, during the process.  What is also curious is that Dan
> Brown is highly active in the IETF working groups for crypto, adding
> weight to the claim that the IETF security area is corrupted.
> Obviously one question arises -- is this a conspiracy between Certicom,
> NSA and NIST to push out a backdoor?  Or is this just the normal
> incompetent-in-hindsight operations of the military-industrial-standards
> complex?
> It's an important if conspiratorial question because we want to document
> the modus operandi of a spook intervention into a standards process.
> We'll have to wait for more facts;  the participants will simply deny.
> One curious fact, the NSA recommended *against* a secrecy order for the
> patent.
> What I'm more curious about today is Certicom's actions.  What is the
> benefit to society and their customers in patenting a backdoor?  How can
> they benefit in a way that aligns the interests of the Internet with the
> interests of their customers?
> Or is this impossible to reconcile?  If Certicom is patenting backdoors,
> the only plausible way I can think of this is that it intends to wield
> backdoors.  Which means spying and hacking.  Certicom is now engaged in
> the business of spying on ... customers?  Foreign governments?
> In contrast, I would have said that Certicom's responsibility as a
> participant in Internet security is to declare and damn an exploit, not
> bury it in a submarine patent.
> If so, what idiot in Certicom's board put it on the path of becoming the
> Crypto AG of the 21st century?
> If so, Certicom is now on the international blacklist of shame.  Until
> questions are answered, do no business with them.  Certicom have
> breached the sacred trust of trade -- to operate in the interests of
> their customers.
> iang
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Uh, I'm sorry but this is not the first time we've seen something like 
this and I seriously doubt it will be the last.  Is it wise to point 
fingers and start using conspiratorial statements?


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