Robert Morris (cryptographer)

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Robert "Bob" Morris is an American cryptographer. He was an employee of Bell Labs and later served as chief scientist of the National Security Agency's National Computer Security Center.<ref>IEEE Electronic CIPHER 9 (1995-09-18)</ref>. He is the father of Robert Tappan Morris, who wrote the (in)famous 1988 Morris Worm.

Morris contributed to early versions of UNIX. He wrote the math library, the crypt program, and the password encryption algorithm. The trap-door encryption algorithm (now called a key derivation function) which was originally used for encrypting passwords stored in the /etc/passwd file of UNIX computers; analogous techniques, relying on different functions, are still in use today.<ref>Password Security: A Case History by Robert Morris and Ken Thompson (1978)</ref>

There is a description of Morris in Clifford Stoll's book The Cuckoo's Egg. Many readers of Stoll's book remember Morris for giving Stoll a challenging mathematical puzzle (originally due to John H. Conway) in the course of their discussions on computer security: What is the next number in the sequence 1 11 21 1211 111221? (known as the look-and-say sequence). Stoll chose not to include the answer to this puzzle in The Cuckoo's Egg, to the frustration of many readers.<ref></ref>

At NSA's NCSC, Morris was involved in the production of the Rainbow Series of computer security standards. He retired from the NSA around 1995.


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