EXCLUSIVE – Last Punched Tape Crypto Key Rolls off the NSA’s Machines


The US’s National Security Agency (NSA) has ended production of punched paper tape cryptographic keys after over 50 years’ use; making its final shift to an electronic cryptographic key production and distribution architecture.

An agency spokesman confirmed to Computer Business Review that the last NSA punched tape key had rolled off its machines on October 2, 2019. Such keys were used to encrypt military and other communications, and needed to be physically entered into devices that could store the key, then shipped around the world.

The technology, which uses paper-mylar-paper tape rolls punched with holes to store cryptographic keys (a hole

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