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NIST's Post-Quantum Cryptography Program Enters 'Selection Round'

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 An artist's conception shows the algorithms as a group of bike racers on a mountain road, closing in on the finish line over the next hill. Credit: B. Hayes/NIST A select few algorithms are undergoing a final leg of review.

After spending more than three years examining new approaches to encryption and data protection that could defeat an assault from a quantum computer, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has begun its third round of public review.

Credit: B. Hayes/NIST

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has initiated the third round of reviewing algorithms submitted to form the core of the first post-quantum cryptography standard.

Three years of effort winnowed 69 submissions down to 15, with the third round concluding with final selection and standardization.

The uncertainty of quantum computers' future capabilities prompted the NIST team to follow various mathematical strategies to safeguard encryption; seven of the finalist algorithms are general-purpose algorithms that might find wide application and be ready for implementation after the third round. The eight other algorithms might need more time to mature or are tailored to more specific uses.

NIST's Dustin Moody said, "The likely outcome is that at the end of this third round, we will standardize one or two algorithms for encryption and key establishment, and one or two others for digital signatures."

From National Institute of Standards and Technology
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