Crypto experts begin review of NIST standards

The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced today a new advisory committee — consisting of experts from Google, Microsoft and several leading universities — which began a review of the agency’s acryptographic standards and guidelines program, according to a NIST release.

Formed out of the NIST’s Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology, the panel of experts, referred to as the Committee of Visitors, includes Vint Cerf of Google, Edward Felten of Princeton University, Steve Lipner of Microsoft Corp., Bart Preneel of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, Ellen Richey of Visa Inc., Ron Rivest of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Fran Schrotter of the American National Standards Institute.

“Our mission is to protect the nation’s IT infrastructure and information by promoting strong cryptography,” said NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “We look forward to the VCAT’s review to help ensure we have the most transparent and effective process for doing that.”

The recent leaking of classified documents has raised concern for the security of NIST’s cryptographic standards and guidelines. After an internal review, NIST decided to open its guidelines to public comment in February. With those taken into account in a draft, the visiting committee will now review and ensure the integrity of NIST’s cryptographic guidance.


Members of the panel will provide individual assessments to the VCAT Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, which will then forward its findings to all of VCAT at a June 11 meeting. The heads of VCAT will then make recommendations to NIST for implementation in the guidelines.

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