TUCoPS :: Crypto :: desblt.txt

Data Encryption Standard

This NCSL Bulletin initiates a new publication series at the
National Computer Systems Laboratory (NCSL).  Each bulletin will
present an in-depth discussion of a single topic of significant
interest to the information systems community.  Bulletins will be
issued on an as-needed basis and are available from NCSL
Publications, National Institute of Standards and Technology,
Room B151, Technology Building, Gaithersburg, MD  20899,
telephone (301) 975-2821 or FTS 879-2821.

                    DATA ENCRYPTION STANDARD
                          JUNE 1990

The National Computer Systems Laboratory (NCSL) of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has received many
inquiries related to the Data Encryption Standard (DES).  This
NCSL Bulletin addresses those frequently asked questions and
provides sources of additional information.  This document does
not issue new policy; rather, it summarizes and clarifies
existing policies.  


NIST (formerly the National Bureau of Standards) issued Federal
Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 46 in 1977 to provide a
system for the cryptographic protection of the confidentiality
and integrity of federal sensitive unclassified computer
information.  DES has been reviewed and reaffirmed twice, most
recently in 1988.  The current standard, which was issued as FIPS
46-1, reaffirms the standard until 1993.  The DES algorithm is
based on work of the International Business Machines Corporation
and has been adopted as American National Standard X3.92-

Technical Overview 
The Data Encryption Standard specifies a cryptographic algorithm
that converts plaintext to ciphertext using a 56-bit key.  The
same algorithm is used with the same key to convert ciphertext
back to plaintext, a process called decryption.  The DES
algorithm consists of 16 "rounds" of operations that mix the data
and key together in a prescribed manner using the fundamental
operations of permutation and substitution.  The goal is to
completely scramble the data and key so that every bit of the
ciphertext depends on every bit of the data plus every bit of the
key (a 56-bit quantity for DES).  

Security Provided by DES 
The security provided by a cryptographic system depends on
several factors:  mathematical soundness of the algorithm, length
of the keys, key management, mode of operation, and
DES was developed to protect unclassified computer data in
federal computer systems against a number of passive and active
attacks in communications and computer systems.  It was assumed
that a knowledgeable person might seek to compromise the security
system by employing resources commensurate with the value of the
protected information.  Appropriate applications of DES include
Electronic Funds Transfer, privacy protection of personal
information, personal authentication, password protection, access
control, etc.   
DES has been evaluated by several organizations and has been
determined to be mathematically sound.  Some individuals have
analyzed the DES algorithm and have concluded that the algorithm
would not be secure if a particular change were made (e.g., if
fewer "rounds" were used).  Modifications of this sort are not in
accordance with the standard and, therefore, may provide
significantly less security.
NIST believes that DES provides more than adequate security for
its intended unclassified applications and plans to continue its
support of the standard.  It is currently the only cryptographic
standard approved in the federal government to protect
unclassified computer information (except for a special category
of information described below).  The next review of DES is
scheduled for 1993.  NIST plans to augment DES with other
cryptographic algorithms to form a family of standards that will
provide new types of protection in special applications.


Subject to agency waivers as discussed below, use of DES is
mandatory for all federal agencies, including defense agencies,
for the protection of sensitive unclassified information when the
agency or department determines that cryptographic protection is

The National Security Agency (NSA) of the U.S. Department of
Defense develops and promulgates requirements for
telecommunications and automated information systems operated by
the U.S. government, its contractors, or agents, that contain
classified information or, as delineated in 10 U.S.C. Section
2315, the function, operation, or use of which:

     -    involves intelligence activities;
     -    involves cryptologic activities related to national
     -    involves the direct command and control of military
     -    involves equipment which is an integral part of a
          weapon or weapon systems; or
     -    is critical to the direct fulfillment of a military or
          intelligence mission.

Note that the term unclassified information as used in this
document excludes information covered by 10 U.S.C. 2315.

DES may be used by private-sector individuals or organizations at
their discretion.  

Waivers for the Mandatory Use of DES

The head of a federal department or agency may waive the use of
DES for the protection of unclassified information in accordance
with the provisions of FIPS 46-1, section 17, page 4, as
discussed below:

  A waiver is necessary if cryptographic devices
  performing an algorithm other than that which is
  specified in this standard are to be used by a federal
  agency for data subject to cryptographic protection
  under this standard.  No waiver is necessary if
  classified communications security equipment is to be
  used.  Software implementations of this algorithm for
  operational use in general purpose computer systems do
  not comply with this standard and each such
  implementation must also receive a waiver. 
  Implementation of the algorithm in software for testing
  or evaluation does not require waiver approval. 
  Implementation of other special purpose cryptographic
  algorithms in software for limited use within a computer
  system (e.g., encrypting password files) or
  implementation of cryptographic algorithms in software
  which were being utilized in computer systems before the
  effective date of this standard do not require a waiver. 
  However, these limited uses should be converted to the
  use of the standard when the system or equipment
  involved is upgraded or redesigned to include general
  cryptographic protection of computer data.  Waivers will
  be considered for devices certified by the National
  Security Agency as complying with the Commercial COMSEC
  Endorsement Program (CCEP) when such devices offer
  equivalent cost/performance features when compared with
  devices conforming to this standard.

Waiver Procedures

As mentioned above, the heads of federal departments or agencies
may waive the mandatory use of DES.  This authority may be
redelegated only to a senior official designated pursuant to 44
U.S.C. section 3506(b).  Waivers shall be granted only when:
  -    compliance with the standard would adversely affect the
       accomplishment of the mission of an operator of a federal
       computer system; or

  -    compliance would cause a major adverse financial impact on
       the operator which is not offset by governmentwide savings.

Agency heads may act upon a written waiver request containing the
information detailed above.  Agency heads may also act without a
written waiver request when they determine that conditions for
meeting the standard cannot be met.  Agency heads may approve
waivers only by a written decision which explains the basis on
which the agency head made the required finding(s).  A copy of
each such decision, with procurement-sensitive or classified
portions clearly identified, shall be sent to:

  National Institute of Standards and Technology
  Attention:  FIPS Waiver Decisions
  Technology Building, Room B-154
  Gaithersburg, MD  20899

In addition, notice of each waiver granted and each delegation of
authority shall be sent promptly to the Committee on Government
Operations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on
Governmental Affairs of the Senate and shall be published
promptly in the Federal Register.

When the determination on a waiver applies to the procurement of
equipment and/or services, a notice of the waiver determination
must be published in the Commerce Business Daily as a part of the
notice of solicitation for offers of an acquisition or, if the
waiver determination is made after that notice is published, by
amendment to such notice.  

A copy of the waiver, any supporting documents, the document
approving the waiver and any supporting or accompanying
documents, with such deletions as the agency is authorized and
decides to make under 5 U.S.C. Section 552(b), shall be part of
the procurement documentation and retained by the agency.  

Endorsement of DES Products

DES products for use in telecommunications equipment and systems
are no longer being endorsed by NSA for conformance to FIPS 140,
General Security Requirements for Equipment Using the Data
Encryption Standard, (formerly Federal Standard 1027).  Federal
agencies may purchase FIPS 140 products that have not been
validated under the NSA endorsement program without processing a
waiver.  To do so, agencies must require written affirmation from
vendors that their products are in conformance with the
provisions of the current standard. 

Also, NIST has notified the heads of federal departments that
they may wish to consider waiving certain requirements of FIPS
140 in order to buy equipment which may not meet all of the
criteria in the standard.  This action will enable agencies to
procure cost-effective equipment that meets their needs, but has
not been endorsed by NSA.  

FIPS 140 is currently under revision to be reissued as FIPS 140-
1.  All issues contained within the scope of the original
standard are being readdressed.  NIST is also examining various
methods for conducting conformance testing against the
requirements of FIPS 140-1.  

DES Cryptographic Keys

U.S. government users of DES products which have been endorsed by
NSA under Federal Standard 1027 may obtain DES cryptographic keys
for these products from NSA upon request at no cost.  (Note that
NSA is no longer endorsing products under Federal Standard 1027.) 
Contact your responsible Communications Security (COMSEC) officer
for further information.   

Alternatively, users of DES, including federal organizations, may
generate their own cryptographic keys.  DES keys must be properly
generated and managed in order to assure a high level of
protection to computer data.  Key Management includes generation,
distribution, storage, and destruction of cryptographic keys. 
Information on this subject may be obtained from the following
documents:  FIPS 74, FIPS 140-1 (future), and ANSI X9.17. (See
reference list for availability of the documents.)  

Exportability of DES Devices and Software Products

Hardware- and software-based implementations of DES are subject
to federal export controls as specified in Title 22, Code of
Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 120 - 128, the International
Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).  Specific information
regarding export applications, application procedures, types of
licenses, and necessary forms may be found in the CFR. 
Responsibility for granting export licenses (except for those DES
implementations noted below) rests with:

       Office of Munitions Control
       Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs
       U.S. Department of State
       Washington, DC, 20250
       Telephone: (202) 875-6650

The Office of Munitions Control, U.S. Department of State, issues
either individual or distribution licenses.  Under a distribution
license, annual reports must be submitted by the distributor
describing to whom the licensed products have been sold.  License
requests for products to be shipped to certain prohibited
countries (see Section 126.1 of the ITAR) are denied for foreign
policy reasons by the Department of State.  

Licenses are normally granted if the end users are either
financial institutions or American subsidiaries abroad.  In
general, either individual or distribution licenses may be used
for financial institutions while only individual licenses may be
used for subsidiaries of U.S. corporations.  

Specific Cryptographic Implementations under Jurisdiction of the
Department of Commerce

The Bureau of Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce,
is responsible for the granting of export licenses for the
following categories of cryptographic products (including DES):

  -    Authentication.  Software or hardware which calculates a
       Message Authentication Code (MAC) or similar result to
       assure no alteration of text has taken place, or to
       authenticate users, but does not allow for encryption of
       data, text, or other media other than that needed for the

  -    Access Control.  Software or hardware which protects
       passwords or Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) or
       similar data to prevent unauthorized access to computing
       facilities, but does not allow for encryption of files or
       text, except as directly related to password or PIN

  -    Proprietary Software Protection.  Decryption-only routines
       for encrypted proprietary software, fonts, or other
       computer-related proprietary information for the purpose of
       maintaining vendor control over said information when such
       decryption routines are not accessible to users of said
       software, font, or other information, and cannot be used
       for any other purpose.

  -    Automatic Teller Devices.  Devices limited to the issuance
       of cash or traveler's checks, acceptance of deposits, or
       account balance reporting. 

Vendors of products in the above four categories should contact
the following for a product classification determination:

       Bureau of Export Administration
       U.S. Department of Commerce
       P.O. Box 273
       Washington, DC 20044
       Telephone: (202) 377-0708

Following this determination, the vendor will be informed whether
an export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce is
necessary.  The Bureau of Export Administration will provide
vendors with license procedures and further information as

Please note that vendors whose products do not fall clearly into
the above categories should follow procedures set forth in the
ITAR, 22 CFR 120-130.

Validation of Devices for Compliance with FIPS 46 and 113

NIST performs validations of products for compliance with FIPS 46
and 113.  For further information about submitting products for
validation or to obtain a list of devices validated under either
standard, please contact:
       Manager, Security Technology Group
       Computer Security Division
       National Computer Systems Laboratory
       Building 225, Room A216
       National Institute of Standards and Technology
       Gaithersburg, MD  20899
       Telephone (301) 975-2920

Reference Documents

NIST Documents

NIST has issued FIPS and other publications regarding DES, its
implementation, and modes of operation.

  FIPS 46-1, Data Encryption Standard

  This standard provides the technical specifications for DES.

  FIPS 74, Guidelines for Implementing and Using the NBS Data
  Encryption Standard

  This guideline on DES discusses how and when data encryption
  should be used, various encryption methods, the reduction of
  security threats, implementation of DES, and key management.

  FIPS 81, DES Modes of Operation

  FIPS 81 defines four modes of operation for DES which may be
  used in a wide variety of applications.  The modes specify how
  data will be encrypted and decrypted.  The four modes are: (1)
  Electronic Codebook (ECB), (2) Cipher Block Chaining (CBC), (3)
  Cipher Feedback (CFB), and (4) Output Feedback (OFB).  

  FIPS 113, Computer Data Authentication

  This standard specifies a Data Authentication Algorithm, based
  upon DES, which may be used to detect unauthorized
  modifications, both intentional and accidental, to data.  The
  Message Authentication Code as specified in ANSI X9.9 is
  computed in the same manner as the Data Authentication Code as
  specified in this standard.  

  FIPS 139, Interoperability and Security Requirements for Use of
  the Data Encryption Standard in the Physical Layer of Data

  This standard specifies interoperability and security-related
  requirements for using encryption at the Physical Layer of the
  ISO Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model in
  telecommunications systems conveying digital information.  FIPS
  139 was previously issued by the General Services Administration
  as Federal Standard 1026.

  FIPS 140, General Security Requirements for Equipment Using the
  Data Encryption Standard

  This document establishes the physical and logical security
  requirements for the design and manufacture of DES equipment. 
  FIPS 140 was previously issued by the General Services
  Administration as Federal Standard 1027.

  FIPS 141, Interoperability and Security Requirements for Use of
  the Data Encryption Standard With CCITT Group 3 Facsimile

  This document specifies interoperability and security related
  requirements for use of encryption with the International
  Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee (CCITT), Group 3-
  type facsimile equipment.  

  NBS Special Publication 500-20, Validating the Correctness of
  Hardware Implementations of the NBS Data Encryption Standard

  This publication describes the design and operation of the
  testbed that is used for the validation of hardware
  implementations of DES.  A particular implementation is verified
  if it correctly performs a set of 291 test cases that have been
  defined to exercise every basic element of the algorithm.  

  NBS Special Publication 500-27, Computer Security and the Data
  Encryption Standard

  This publication contains the proceedings of the Conference on
  Computer Security and the Data Encryption Standard held at the
  National Bureau of Standards on February 15, 1977.  Subjects of
  the papers and presentations include physical security, risk
  assessment, software security, computer network security,
  applications and implementation of the Data Encryption Standard.

  NBS Special Publication 500-54, A Key Notarization System for
  Computer Networks

  This document describes a system for key notarization, which can
  be used with an encryption device, to improve data security in
  computer networks.  The key notarization system can be used to
  communicate securely between two users, communicate via
  encrypted mail, protect personal files, and provide a digital
  signature capability.

  NBS Special Publication 500-61, Maintenance Testing for the Data
  Encryption Standard

  This special publication describes the design of four
  maintenance tests for the Data Encryption Standard.  The tests
  consist of an iterative procedure that tests the operation of
  DES devices using a small program and minimal data.  The tests
  are defined as four specific stopping points in a general
  testing process and satisfy four testing requirements of
  increasing degree of completeness depending on the thoroughness
  of testing desired.  

  NBS Special Publication 500-156, Message Authentication Code
  (MAC) Validation System:  Requirements and Procedures

  This special publication describes a Message Authentication Code
  (MAC) Validation System (MVS) to test message authentication
  devices for conformance to two data authentication standards: 
  FIPS 113 and ANSI X9.9-1986, Financial Institution Message
  Authentication (Wholesale).  The MVS is designed to perform
  automated testing on message authentication devices which are
  remote to NIST.  This publication provides brief overviews of
  the two data authentication standards and introduces the basic
  design and configuration of the MVS.  The requirements and
  administrative procedures to be followed by those seeking formal
  NIST validation of a message authentication device are

Copies of these publications are for sale by the National
Technical Information Service, at:

       National Technical Information Service
       U.S. Department of Commerce
       5285 Port Royal Road
       Springfield, VA  22161
       Telephone (703) 487-4650, FTS: 737-4650

Other Documents

DES has been incorporated into a number of other standards,

  "American national standard for financial institution key
  management (wholesale)," ANSI X9.17-1985, American Bankers
  Association, 10 Jay Gould Ct., Waldorf, MD  20602.

  "American national standard for financial institution message
  authentication," ANSI X9.9-1986 (Revised), American Bankers
  Association, 10 Jay Gould Ct., Waldorf, MD  20602.

  "American national standard for financial message encryption,"
  ANSI X9.23-1988, American Bankers Association, 10 Jay Gould Ct.,
  Waldorf, MD  20602.

  "American national standard for information systems - Data
  encryption algorithm - Modes of operation," ANSI X3.106-1983,
  American National Standards Institute, 1430 Broadway, New York,
  NY  20018.

  "American national standard for information systems - Data link
  encryption," ANSI X3.105-1983, American National Standards
  Institute, 1430 Broadway, New York, NY  20018

  "American national standard for personal identification number
  (PIN) Management and Security," ANSI X9.8-1982, American Bankers
  Association, 10 Jay Gould Ct., Waldorf, MD  20602.

  "American national standard for retail message authentication,"
  ANSI X9.19-1985, American Bankers Association, 10 Jay Gould Ct.,
  Waldorf, MD  20602.

  "Banking - Key management (wholesale)," IS 8732, Association for
  Payment Clearing Services, London, England, Dec. 1987.
  "Banking - Requirements for message authentication (wholesale),"
  IS 8730, Association for Payment Clearing Services, London,
  England, July 1987.

  "Data encryption algorithm," ANSI X3.92-1981, American National
  Standards Institute, 1430 Broadway, New York, NY  20018.

  "Draft American national standard for financial institution
  sign-on authentication for wholesale financial systems:  Secure
  transmission of personal authenticating information and node
  authentication," ANSI X9-26-199_, American Bankers Association,
  10 Jay Gould Ct., Waldorf, MD  20602.  
Related Documents

  "The Data Encryption Standard:  Past and Future," Smid and
  Branstad, Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 76, No. 5, May 1988.

NIST's Computer Security Program

For further information regarding other aspects of NIST's
computer security program, including NIST's federal agency
assistance program, please contact:

       Computer Security Division
       National Computer Systems Laboratory
       Building 225, Room A216
       National Institute of Standards and Technology
       Gaithersburg, MD  20899
       Telephone (301) 975-2934

Who we are

NCSL is one of five major science and engineering research
components of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
(NIST) of the Department of Commerce.  We develop standards and
test methods, conduct research on computer and related
telecommunications systems, and provide technical assistance to
government and industry.  We seek to overcome barriers to the
efficient use of computer systems, to the cost-effective exchange
of information, and to the protection of valuable information
resources in computer systems from threats of all kinds.
                                     James H. Burrows, Director  X-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-X

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