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Acceptable Encryption Policy

Authority: Information Technology
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted April 6, 2021; Revised June 7, 2021

Purpose 

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance that limits the use of encryption to those algorithms that have received substantial public review and have been proven to work effectively. Additionally, this policy provides direction to ensure that Federal regulations are followed, and legal authority is granted for the dissemination and use of encryption technologies outside of the United States. 

Scope 

This policy applies to all McNeese State University employees and affiliates. 

Policy 

Algorithm Requirements 

  • Ciphers in use must meet or exceed the set defined as “AES-compatible” or “partially AES-compatible” according to the IETF/IRTF Cipher Catalog, or the set defined for use in the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publication FIPS 140-2, or any superseding documents according to the date of implementation. The use of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is strongly recommended for symmetric encryption. 
  • Algorithms in use must meet the standards defined for use in NIST publication FIPS 140-2 or any superseding document, according to date of implementation. The use of the RSA and Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) algorithms is strongly recommended for asymmetric encryption. 
  • Signature Algorithms 
Algorithm Key Length (min) Additional Comment 
ECDSA P-256 Consider RFC6090 to avoid patent infringement.  
RSA 2048 Must use a secure padding scheme. PKCS#7 padding scheme is recommended. Message hashing required. 
LDWM SHA256 Refer to LDWM Hash-based Signatures Draft 

Hash Function Requirements 

In general, McNeese State University adheres to the NIST Policy on Hash Functions

Key Agreement and Authentication 

  • Key exchanges must use one of the following cryptographic protocols: Diffie-Hellman, IKE, or Elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH). 
  • End points must be authenticated prior to the exchange or derivation of session keys. 
  • Public keys used to establish trust must be authenticated prior to use.  Examples of authentication include transmission via cryptographically signed message or manual verification of the public key hash. 
  • All servers used for authentication (for example, RADIUS or TACACS) must have installed a valid certificate signed by a known trusted provider. 
  • All servers and applications using SSL or TLS must have the certificates signed by a known, trusted provider. 

Key Generation 

  • Cryptographic keys must be generated and stored in a secure manner that prevents loss, theft, or compromise. 

Policy Compliance 

Compliance Measurement 

The Office of Information Technology will verify compliance to this policy through various methods, including but not limited to, business tool reports, internal and external audits, and feedback to the policy owner. 

Exceptions 

Any exception to the policy must be approved by the Office of Information Technology in advance. 

Non-Compliance 

An employee found to have violated this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. 

Communication 

This policy is distributed via Senior Staff and the University Policy Page