ACVP stands for (Automated Cryptographic Validation Protocol) and it is the upcoming protocol that will be used for FIPS validation. It makes testing cryptographic algorithms and modules more efficient than the current method and more automated. There are three main parts to ACVP – a server, a proxy, and a client.
- The server side handles requests for test vectors and requests for validation among other requests. This side is operated by a FIPS lab or by NIST themselves.
- A proxy with ACVP can be used to communicate to offline systems and handle transferring information from the system being tested to the server. Often an ACVP client is used instead.
- The last part being a client, which is most relevant to users who are wanting to get their cryptography FIPS validated. An ACVP client is directly hooked up to the module to be tested and then communicates with the ACVP server to send requests for test vectors, responses of the results from running those tests, and requests for algorithm validation. There are multiple pieces required to build a ACVP client in order to complete a validation process, some of the large portions of the effort go into
- JSON parsing / creation for communication with a ACVP server
- HTTPS GET / POST / PUT / DELETE messages used for securely transporting information
- 2 factor authentication with TOTP (Time-Based One-Time Password Algorithm)
- Plugging in the test harness that runs crypto operations
Ultimately an ACVP client communicates with the server to validate cryptographic operations. This includes creating, or referencing meta data such as; vendor, OE, and module information. A simplified message flow for getting an algorithm validated is as follows:
wolfSSL is in the process of developing our own ACVP client based off of the current draft (draft-fussell-acvp-spec-01). Having many algorithms already completing the validation process through the NIST operated ACVP Demo server. Where our test vendor information can be seen publicly listed on the demo site here (https://demo.acvts.nist.gov/home). We can assist with your FIPS needs. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions or more information.
More information from NIST’s website about the ACVP project can be found here: