The National Institute of Standards and Technology has selected the first batch of four encryption algorithms designed to resist an attack from a future quantum computer that could potentially break the security codes used to safeguard email software, online banking and other digital platforms.
NIST said Tuesday the encryption tools will become part of the post-quantum cryptographic standard that the agency expects to be finalized in two years.
One of the four algorithms, CRYSTALS-Kyber, is for general encryption meant to protect data shared across a public network. The three algorithms – CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON and SPHINCS+ – are for digital signatures used for identity authentication.
SPHINCS+ is based on a family of math problems called hash functions, while the rest of the selected encryption tools are based on structured lattices.
In 2016, NIST asked cryptographers across the world to propose algorithms for its post-quantum cryptography standardization effort.
Laurie Locascio, director of NIST and undersecretary of Commerce for standards and technology, said quantum computers that can crack current encryption will pose a serious threat to information systems.
“Our post-quantum cryptography program has leveraged the top minds in cryptography — worldwide — to produce this first group of quantum-resistant algorithms that will lead to a standard and significantly increase the security of our digital information,” added Locascio.
NIST said it is considering four additional algorithms for inclusion in the post-quantum cryptographic standard. These tools are meant for general encryption and do not rely on the two families of math problems.
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