$100k FIPS-140 certification vs. $19.95 Amazon purchase of Scrubs DVD

February 26th, 2008 | Tags:

My morning email slog was greatly enhanced by some choice quotes from Peter Gutmann on the IETF Security Area Advisory Group list:

Compare this to the example I gave earlier of performing a TLS exchange with Amazon. This performs an in-depth test of all the crypto algorithms (corresponding to the FIPS algorithm tests, including ones that FIPS ignores), and the crypto mechanisms (many/most of which FIPS again ignores). In other words simply by connecting to Amazon using TLS and ordering a “Scrubs” DVD for $19.95 I’m getting more comprehensive algorithm testing than I can for a five-figure sum with the FIPS algorithm tests.

This was based on a FIPS-140 crypto certification costing $100,000 (which was challenged in a followup as costing a mere $30,000).

He then describes what he believes would be a better way to use the $100k in assuring a crypto product, including the purchase of a $45k home theater system, beer, and setting a up fake banking web site as a honeypot to attract Russian mafia.

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