The Linux Kernel's Speck Death Sentence Finally Being Carried Out

Written by Michael Larabel in Standards on 23 October 2018 at 07:08 AM EDT. 17 Comments
Earlier this year the Speck encryption algorithm was added to the Linux kernel as at the time Google intended to use it for EXT4/fscrypt file-system encryption with low-end Android devices. But Speck with all its controversy due to being developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) led to immediate backlash. The removal of Speck from the Linux kernel tree is finally happening.

Google decided in August they wouldn't use Speck as planned but rather work on the new HPolyC crypto code for use in future Android Go devices. Following that was the call to remove Speck from the Linux kernel with no real users of the code, but that didn't happen for the Linux 4.19 cycle.

But as I wrote about in September, queued in crypto-next was the removal of the Speck crypto code. Now with the Linux 4.20~5.0 merge window open, that removal pull request has been sent to the mainline tree.

Crypto subsystem maintainer Herbert Xu sent in his pull request today that does indeed remove Speck for good. That patch is also queued for then back-porting to existing Linux supported stable series.

Other crypto work for this next kernel release includes a number of ARM/ARM64 performance optimizations (some algorithms seeing 50~85% faster performance), a new cryptostat user-interface, and other changes.

It's also worth noting what was not included this kernel cycle... There have been kernel patches for implementing Streebog as a crypto algorithm from Russia's FSB. Those patches are not to be included at least in this next kernel release.
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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