c’t: Swan and Penguin: Encrypted Communication with Linux

What do you get when you cross a swan with a penguin? Quite
simple: a Virtual Private Network to provide encrypted
communication with Linux. The swan, making up a VPN together with
Linux, is called FreeS/WAN.

“COCOM and Wassenaar, ECHELON and ENFOPOL, Weak Encryption,
Clipper chip and a lot more: Many things we have recently heard
about make us realize, how far commercial software encryption
products available in Europe (especially from the U.S.) might
already be subject to their producers’ self-censorship.
Cryptographic products from the U.S., which are freely available on
the world-market, are either equipped with a key length restricted
to 56 bit (standard DES) or with Key Escrowing mechanisms.
Commercial products in the Wassenaar area (EU and others) are
subject to export control finally when they exceed 64 bit, the
consequences of which aren’t completely clear by now.”

“Of course, not only explicit encryption systems (as offered by
various vendors for all common platforms) are affected by these
restrictions, but also the operating systems themselves, as long as
they contain such components. As a matter of fact, all current
Microsoft operating systems are affected. Apparently, it’s
impossible to escape the crippled encryption algorithms of the
popular operating system packages outside the U.S.”