Monetary and Economic Studies Vol.25, No.1 / March 2007

Year 2010 Issues on Cryptographic Algorithms

Masashi Une, Masayuki Kanda

In the financial sector, cryptographic algorithms are used as fundamental techniques for assuring confidentiality and integrity of data used in financial transactions and for authenticating entities involved in the transactions. Currently, the most widely used algorithms appear to be two-key triple DES and RC4 for symmetric ciphers, RSA with a 1024-bit key for an asymmetric cipher and a digital signature, and SHA-1 for a hash function according to international standards and guidelines related to the financial transactions.
However, according to academic papers and reports regarding the security evaluation for such algorithms, it is difficult to ensure enough security by using the algorithms for a long time period, such as 10 or 15 years, due to advances in cryptanalysis techniques, improvement of computing power, and so on. To enhance the transition to more secure ones, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the United States describes in various guidelines that NIST will no longer approve two-key triple DES, RSA with a 1024-bit key, and SHA-1 as the algorithms suitable for IT systems of the U.S. Federal Government after 2010.
It is an important issue how to advance the transition of the algorithms in the financial sector. This paper refers to issues regarding the transition as Year 2010 issues in cryptographic algorithms. To successfully complete the transition by 2010, the deadline set by NIST, it is necessary for financial institutions to begin discussing the issues at the earliest possible date.
This paper summarizes security evaluation results of the current algorithms, and describes Year 2010 issues, their impact on the financial industry, and the transition plan announced by NIST. This paper also shows several points to be discussed when dealing with Year 2010 issues.

Keywords: Cryptographic algorithm; Symmetric cipher; Asymmetric cipher; Security; Year 2010 issues; Hash function

Views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Bank of Japan or Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies.

Copyright © 2007 Bank of Japan All Rights Reserved.

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