[openssl-users] FIPS certification for openssl

Michael Wojcik Michael.Wojcik at microfocus.com
Thu Nov 30 13:41:05 UTC 2017

> From: openssl-users [mailto:openssl-users-bounces at openssl.org] On Behalf Of Jordan Brown
> Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2017 00:34

> On 11/29/2017 6:13 PM, Salz, Rich via openssl-users wrote:
> > I agree with you, but a problem is that “safe and secure” changes over time when new  crypto and other new features
> > are added. And then users get upset when their connections no longer work.

That, and many applications will reasonably disagree on what an appropriate default is.

> Still, I'd rather have compatibility problems - as long as there's a way to explicitly request the less-secure option - than
> silently be insecure.

But some other people would not prefer compatibility problems.

There are a great many OpenSSL consumers. Making radical changes to the default behavior of the API would break many applications - and so it's likely those applications would stop updating their OpenSSL builds.

> Having per-user or system-wide configuration files that are consulted under the covers would help,

For many applications, no, it really wouldn't. It would be a huge mess.

> since then the user could revert to less-secure settings without needing the application source.

If the application is well-written, the user doesn't need the application source now. If the application isn't well-written, being able to change "settings" is not one of your bigger problems.

> Maybe have the "create handle" function take an application name as an argument, so that individual applications
> could be managed separately.

And we have another namespace problem. No thanks.

> Looking at it another way:  browsers manage to do it...

Manage to do what, exactly? And how are browsers a good model for the vast range of OpenSSL applications? They're just one type of client that nearly always uses a very particular PKI model.

Not all the world's a VAX.

Michael Wojcik 
Distinguished Engineer, Micro Focus 

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