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Security '02 Abstract

Lessons Learned in Implementing and Deploying Crypto Software

Peter Gutmann, University of Auckland


Although the basic building blocks for working with strong encryption have become fairly widespread in the last few years, experience has shown that implementers frequently misuse them in a manner which voids their security properties. At least some of the blame lies with the tools themselves, which often make it unnecessarily easy to get things wrong. Just as no chainsaw manufacturer would think of producing a model without a finger-guard and cutoff mechanism, so security software designers need to consider safety features which will keep users from injuring themselves or others. This paper examines some of the more common problem areas which exist in crypto security software, and provides a series of design guidelines which can help minimise damage due to (mis-)use by inexperienced users. These issues are taken from extensive real-world experience with users of security software, and represent areas which frequently cause problems when the software is employed in practice.
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Last changed: 19 June 2002 aw
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