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By | Chris Mellor 4th February 2015 10:37

RSA boss packs his fishing rod and heads for the hills

No big bucks from EMC acquisition or Snowden shenanigans

Art Coviello is retiring from his exec chairman role at the top of RSA, EMC's security business, leaving behind an acquisition that never bought in big bucks for the T Rex of the storage world, and was blighted by NSA backdoor revelations in 2013.

RSA is known in the security world for its SecurID tokens and the fact that its founders, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Len Adleman, came up with the RSA algorithm in 1977. This is the most widely-user public key cryptography algorithm in the world.

RSA, with its noted BSafe encryption technology, was bought by EMC in 2006 for $2.1bn, with Coviello in the RSA CEO chair. Its reputation as a trusted security technology supplier was tarnished by allegations from whistleblower Edward Snowden that it was paid $10m by the NSA to use encryption tech with a backdoor for the g-men (and, by extension, world+dog).

This was the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual EC DRBG) for random number generation. RSA did not make a clear and unambiguous denial that it took the NSA's money at the time.

Symantec is another example of a company that thought there was synergy between storage and security technologies. It spent $13.5bn buying Veritas in 2004 and is now separating its security and storage businesses, effectively spinning off the Veritas business and kissing that synergy hope goodbye.

Coviello, also an EMC EVP, retires at the end of February and will be a strategic advisor to EMC RSA president Amit Yoran for a while. ®

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