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FIPS 140-2: What You Need to Know About Cryptographic Modules

FIPS 140-2 is a set of standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to ensure the security of cryptographic modules used in computer systems. The standards are designed to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access and to help organizations comply with applicable laws and regulations.

FIPS 140-2 provides a set of requirements for cryptographic modules and sets out the criteria for evaluating them. These requirements include authentication, cryptographic key management, cryptographic algorithms and protocols, input/output formats, and physical security features. The standards are designed to ensure that cryptographic modules maintain a high level of security and provide assurances that the module meets the requirements of the standard.

Cryptographic modules that meet the requirements of FIPS 140-2 are considered to be “certified” and are eligible for use in government and commercial applications. The certification process involves testing the module against the requirements set out in the standard and submitting the results to the NIST for approval.

Organizations that use cryptographic modules need to be aware of the security implications of using un-certified modules. Un-certified modules may not provide the same level of security as certified modules and may be vulnerable to attack. Organizations should only use certified modules that meet the requirements of FIPS 140-2.

FIPS 140-2 is an important standard for ensuring the security of cryptographic modules. Organizations should ensure that they understand the requirements of the standard and only use certified modules that meet these requirements. This will help to protect sensitive information and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

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