NIST encryption for quantum defense, IoT security

While true quantum computing is still decades away, the federal government is already preparing to defend its IT assets and equipment from the threat.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has spent much of the past year evaluating 69 algorithms for its Post Quantum Cryptography Standardization program, a 2016 project designed to protect the machines used today from the encryption-breaking tools of tomorrow.

The algorithms are all designed to work with current technology and equipment, each offering different ways to protect computers and data from attack vectors – known and unknown – posed by developments in quantum computing. NIST chose 26 of the most promising proposals in January 2019, and the agency will be conducting a second evaluation this year to whittle that list down even further.

NIST isn’t shooting for a specific number of algorithms at the end of the process but rather wants to leave room for agencies to deploy multiple options to protect their assets, NIST Computer Security Division Chief Matthew Scholl said.

“This is to ensure that we have some resilience so that when a quantum machine actually comes around — not being able to fully understand the capability or the effect of those machines — having more than one algorithm with some different genetic mathematical foundations will ensure that we have a little more resiliency in that kit going forward,” he said at a March 20 briefing to the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board. ..Read more..

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