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Counterpane.com: Bruce Schneier comments on the “NSA” key in Microsoft CryptoAPI

[ Thanks to Eric
Kidd
for this link. ]

Bruce Schneier, the author of the excellent book Applied
Cryptography
(and well-respected cryptography consultant)
comments on the “NSA Key”:

“I see two possibilities. One, that the backup key is just as
Microsoft says, a backup key. It’s called “NSAKEY” for some dumb
reason, and that’s that.

“Two, that it is actually an NSA key. If the NSA is going to use
Microsoft products for classified traffic, they’re going to install
their own cryptography. They’re not going to want to show it to
anyone, not even Microsoft. They are going to want to sign their
own modules. So the backup key could also be an NSA internal key,
so that they could install strong cryptography on Microsoft
products for their own internal use.

“But it’s not an NSA key so they can secretly install weak
cryptography on the unsuspecting masses. There are just too many
smarter things they can do to the unsuspecting masses.”

Read
more.