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NSA Suite B Cryptography is a set of cryptographic algorithms promulgated by the National Security Agency as part of its Cryptographic Modernization Program. It is to serve as an interoperable cryptographic base for both unclassified information and most classified information.

Suite B was announced on 16 February 2005. A corresponding set of unpublished algorithms, Suite A, is "used in applications where Suite B may not be appropriate. Both Suite A and Suite B can be used to protect foreign releasable information, US-Only information, and Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI)."[1]

Suite B's components are:


General informationEdit


In December 2006, NSA submitted an Internet Draft on implementing Suite B as part of IPsec. This draft had been accepted for publication by IETF as RFC 4869, later made obsolete by RFC 6379.

Certicom Corporation of Ontario, Canada, which was purchased by BlackBerry Limited in 2009,[2] holds some elliptic curve patents, which have been licensed by NSA for United States government use. These include patents on ECMQV, but ECMQV has been dropped from Suite B. AES and SHA had been previously released and have no patent restrictions. See also RFC 6090.

As of October 2012, CNSSP-15[3] stated that the 256-bit elliptic curve (specified in FIPS 186-2), SHA-256, and AES with 128-bit keys are sufficient for protecting classified information up to the Secret level, while the 384-bit elliptic curve (specified in FIPS 186-2), SHA-384, and AES with 256-bit keys are necessary for the protection of Top Secret information.

However, as of August 2015, NSA indicated that only the Top Secret algorithm strengths should be used to protect all levels of classified information.[1]

Quantum resistant suiteEdit

In August 2015, NSA announced that it is planning to transition "in the not too distant future" to a new cipher suite that is resistant to quantum attacks. "Unfortunately, the growth of elliptic curve use has bumped up against the fact of continued progress in the research on quantum computing, necessitating a re-evaluation of our cryptographic strategy." NSA advised: "For those partners and vendors that have not yet made the transition to Suite B algorithms, we recommend not making a significant expenditure to do so at this point but instead to prepare for the upcoming quantum resistant algorithm transition."[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Suite B Cryptography". National Security Agency.
  2. ^ Gardner, W. David (11 February 2009). "BlackBerry Maker Acquires Certicom For $106 Million". Information Week.
  3. ^ "CNSSP-15 National Information Assurance Policy on the Use of Public Standards for the Secure Sharing of Information Among National Security Systems". Committee on National Security Systems.