NIST Quantum Cryptography Program Nears Completion
+ NIST should be applauded for getting ahead of the need for post-quantum encryption. The results of the most recent selection round, in which the number of candidates was reduced and “tracked” into two groups, can be found in the Status Report on the Second Round of the NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization Process (NISTIR 8309). NIST is asking experts to provide input on the algorithms contained there.
It sometimes feels like we’ve been talking about quantum computing for decades. But last month finally brought an announcement that promises to bring the age of quantum computing an undeniable step nearer to reality: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is ready to announce the first post-quantum cryptography standard. Nearly.
+ Once these candidates are chosen, NIST will also standardize the way that the algorithms should be implemented on a variety of systems. Standardization is important, because it will allow organizations to get sufficiently powerful encryption schemes in place ahead of the time they need them.
+ Further, the development of post-quantum cryptographic standards will not protect data that has already been stolen. As we’ve previously pointed out, such data is already vulnerable to a “harvest and decrypt” attack, in which a hacker steals encrypted data with long-term value — Social Security numbers, military information — and sits on it until a quantum computer can crack the encryption and unlock the secrets.
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