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Older mechanical encryption systems, such as rotor machines, were keyed by setting the positions of wheels and plugs from a printed keying list. Electronic systems required some way to load the necessary cryptovariable data. In the 1950s and 1960s, systems such as the U.S. National Security Agency KW-26 and the Soviet Union's Fialka used punched cards for this purpose. Later NSA encryption systems incorporated a serial port fill connector and developed several common fill devices (CFDs) that could be used with multiple systems. A CFD was plugged in when new keys were to be loaded. Newer NSA systems allow "over the air rekeying" (OTAR), but a master key often must still be loaded using a fill device.
NSA uses two serial protocols for key fill, DS-101 and DS-102. Both employ the same U-229 6-pin connector type used for U.S. military audio handsets, with the DS-101 being the newer of the two serial fill protocols. The DS-101 protocol can also be used to load cryptographic algorithms and software updates for crypto modules.
Common fill devices employed by NSA include:
The older KYK-13, KYX-15 and MX-10579 are limited to certain key types.