Management

NIST head defends work with NSA

Patrick Gallagher

NSA will continue to be involved in cybersecurity standards because of its 'deep reservoir of knowhow,' says NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. (NIST photo)

The director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology defended his agency on Sept. 25 against the severe criticism it has received in recent weeks following revelations that the National Security Agency worked to weaken encryption standards NIST adopted in 2006

"There is not a problem with NIST collaborating with NSA," NIST Director Patrick Gallagher said at a cybersecurity summit at the National Press Club in Washington.

According to The Hill, Gallagher said NIST will continue to work with the NSA because the spy agency has a "deep reservoir of knowhow in cybersecurity activities," adding that the NSA plays a similar role to NIST in protecting federal computer networks.

Gallagher said NIST is "redoubling" its efforts to be transparent in an effort to rebuild trust within the private sector, for which it assists in setting guidelines, policy and standards in the private and public sectors.

That trust was damaged in early September when top-secret documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed the NSA "became the sole editor" of weakened cryptographic standards that NIST later approved for use.

In response, NIST reopened the questioned encryption standards for public comment and authored a technical bulletin recommending against use of the standards.

"NIST is fully committed to the highest levels of scientific and technical quality and integrity," Gallagher said. "This is in our bone marrow at NIST. If we are to contribute to this dialogue of securing and providing trust to the Internet, everyone has to be confident that our technical work stands on its own merits."

About the Author

Frank Konkel is a former staff writer for FCW.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above