NIST eases restrictions on use of RSA-encrypted signatures

The National Institute of Standards and Technology last week approved a modification of
the federal Digital Signature Standard that will let agencies use encryption algorithms
from RSA Data Security Inc. of Redwood City, Calif.


Federal Information Processing Standard 186-1 will now support ANSI X9.31, which allows
for the use of RSA-encrypted digital signatures.


Government agencies will be able to use RSA applications without petitioning for
waivers.


“The approval of ANSI X9.31 is a significant breakthrough for government agencies,
many of which are already using RSA technology and have been anticipating its acceptance
as an official approved security standard,” said Miles Smid, acting chief of
NIST’s Computer Security Division.


The agencies can now take direct advantage of RSA technology to protect unclassified
information, he said.



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