ISO blocks NSA's latest IoT encryption systems amid murky tales of backdoors and bullying Experts complain of shoddy tech specs and personal attacks
Two new encryption algorithms developed by the NSA have been rejected by an international standards body amid accusations of threatening behavior.
The "Simon" and "Speck" cryptography techniques were designed for the next generation of internet-of-things sensors, and were intended to become a global standard.
But there were formally rejected earlier this week by the International Organization of Standards (ISO) amid concerns that they contained a backdoor that would allow US spies to break the encryption. The process was also marred by complaints from encryption experts of threatening behavior from the American spies.
"I worked very hard for this in the last year and a half. Now I can finally tell my story," tweeted one of the experts, Dr Tomer Ashur, who was representing the Belgian delegation.
He then pointed to the NSA's "outrageously adversarial" behavior during the process as a main reason why the two standards were rejected.
When some of the design choices made by the NSA were questioned by experts, Ashur states, their response was to personally attack the questioners, which included himself, Orr Dunkelman and Daniel Bernstein, who represented the Israeli and German delegations respectively.
Ashur further alleges that the NSA had plied the relevant committee with "half-truths and full lies" in response to concerns, and says that if the American delegation had been "more trustworthy, or at least more cooperative, different alliances would have probably been formed."
Instead, he says, "they chose to try to bully their way into the standards which almost worked but eventually backfired."