The National Institute of Standards and Technology has taken a significant step forward in its plans to release several algorithms designed to defend against quantum computer-based attacks, according to an agency brief published Thursday.
The agency, which began ramping up its post-quantum cryptography efforts back in 2016, has released draft standards for three algorithms designed to encrypt computer systems and protect them from attacks facilitated by quantum technology. By creating these standards, NIST is moving closer to its goal of, eventually, sharing these algorithms publicly — which would allow organizations to incorporate them into their systems.
These three algorithms were originally selected in 2022. Standards for a fourth algorithm, also selected last year, are expected to be published in about a year, NIST added. At the same time, the agency hinted that another crop of post-quantum encryption standards could soon become available.
“In addition to the four algorithms NIST selected last year, the project team also selected a second set of algorithms for ongoing evaluation, intended to augment the first set,” noted the brief. “NIST will publish draft standards next year for any of these algorithms selected for standardization.”
These new encryption standards are supposed to take the place of cryptographic standards deemed the most vulnerable. The agency is accepting feedback on the three algorithms’ draft standards until late November.