NSA had secret deal on back-doored crypto with security firm RSA, Snowden docs reveal

RSA SecureID electronic keys (Reuters/Michael Caronna)

"As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry," reports Joseph Menn at Reuters in an exclusive today:

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the NSA created and promulgated a flawed formula for generating random numbers to create a "back door" in encryption products, the New York Times reported in September. Reuters later reported that RSA became the most important distributor of that formula by rolling it into a software tool called Bsafe that is used to enhance security in personal computers and many other products.
"Secret contract tied NSA and security industry pioneer" [Reuters.com]