New NSA block ciphers SIMON and SPECK

Something new from the NSA: The SIMON and SPECK Families of Lightweight Block Ciphers

http://eprint.iacr.org/2013/404.pdf

In this paper we propose two families of block ciphers, SIMON and SPECK, each
of which comes in a variety of widths and key sizes. While many lightweight
block ciphers exist, most were designed to perform well on a single platform
and were not meant to provide high performance across a range of devices. The
aim of SIMON and SPECK is to fill the need for secure, flexible, and analyzable
lightweight block ciphers. Each offers excellent performance on hardware and
software platforms, is flexible enough to admit a variety of implementations on
a given platform, and is amenable to analysis using existing techniques. Both
perform exceptionally well across the full spectrum of lightweight applications,
but SIMON is tuned for optimal performance in hardware, and SPECK for optimal
performance in software.

Bruce Schneier had a comment on this: SIMON and SPECK: New NSA Encryption Algorithms

I don’t know anything about the context of this paper. Why was the work done, and why is it being made public? I’m curious.

I don’t think he was alluding to nefarious aims, but just an honest “um, thanks?”.

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