Respected Security Researcher Cancels Talk at RSA Conference USA 2014 Over RSA-NSA Deal

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finland-based antivirus provider F-Secure, has publicly canceled a talk (entitled, "Governments as Malware Authors") at the upcoming RSA Conference USA 2014 in protest of news that the RSA received $10 million to make an NSA-favored random number generator the default setting in its BSAFE crypto tool.

A well respected security researcher who regularly speaks at Black Hat, Defcon, Hack in the Box, Hypponen said his cancellation was in protest of the aforementioned news and because of the RSA's decision to keep Dual EC_DRBG the default PRNG for more than five years after serious vulnerabilities were uncovered in it.

"I don’t really expect your multibillion dollar company or your multimillion dollar conference to suffer as a result of your deals with the NSA," Hypponen wrote in an open letter to Joseph M. Tucci and Art Coviello, the CEO of EMC and the executive chairman of RSA respectively. "In fact, I'm not expecting other conference speakers to cancel. Most of your speakers are American anyway–why would they care about surveillance that's not targeted at them but at non-Americans. Surveillance operations from the US intelligence agencies are targeted at foreigners. However I'm a foreigner. And I'm withdrawing my support from your event."

While Hypponen is the first high profile to speak, he may not be the last. We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.

Source: Ars Technica

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