Final approval of Counter Mode with CBC-MAC/802.11i by NIST

by Matthew Gast

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Back in October, I reported on the release of a draft that would approve the use of the Counter Mode with CBC-MAC (CCM) encryption mode. Earlier this month, NIST released a final version of the publication, which means that CCM is now blessed as an approved encryption mode and 802.11i-based systems can be certified under the FIPS standards. As a result, I would guess that in six months to a year, we will see FIPS-certified wireless LAN systems hit the market.

Reading the public comments and responses, I get the sense that this was a somewhat controversial decision. Without approval of CCM from NIST, 802.11i would be dead in the water in most government agencies. With so much money riding on the approval, there were bound to be strong opinions. If you're interested in seeing what the objections were and how the NIST staff responded, take a look at the publish NIST response to the most common public comments.