[openssl-users] Elliptic curves approved or recommended by government

Jakob Bohm jb-openssl at wisemo.com
Wed Nov 11 21:08:23 UTC 2015

On 11/11/2015 21:02, Alex Chen wrote:
> I see there is a list of recommended list by NIST in 
> http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/ST/toolkit/documents/dss/NISTReCur.pdf, 
> but it is very old (1999)
> Is there a up to date list of elliptic curves approved or recommended 
> for government use in OpenSSL?
> Is NID_X9_62_prime256v1 the strongest?
First of all, it depends on *which government*, NIST is for
the USA Government only, though some allied countries may have
copied their decisions.

Secondly, since ca. 1999, the official list has been mostly
unchanged, namely those that are listed in the official NIST
standard FIPS 186-2 for use with ECDSA and in NIST Special
publication SP 800-56A for ECDH.

So far, the public adjustments have been:

2005: The official Suite B list of ciphers was published and
      included the P-256 and P-384 bit curves as minimum.
       Around the same time they made a secret Suite A list of
      ciphers for stuff more secret than "top secret".
2015: NSA announced that they will soon start work on a new
      list, and that government departments should not waste
      taxpayers money doing the upgrade to Suite B just a few
      years before it becomes obsolete.
       However for use at this time they recommend P-384 or
      3072 bit RSA/DH as a good minimum while accepting the
      next step down (P-256 or 2048 bit RSA/DH) in already
      built systems.
       They also recommend the use of pure symmetric key
      solutions with strong (256 random bits) keys as the best
      current solution where possible.

The (non-classified) current official advice can be read at



Jakob Bohm, CIO, Partner, WiseMo A/S.  https://www.wisemo.com
Transformervej 29, 2860 Søborg, Denmark.  Direct +45 31 13 16 10
This public discussion message is non-binding and may contain errors.
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