On the 5th of July, National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) of the United States released the long-awaited announcement on the finalisation of the 3rd round of the Post-Quantum Cryptography (PQC) competition. NIST has chosen to standardise four algorithms: CRYSTALS-Kyber for Key Encapsulation Mechanism (KEM) and CRYSTALS-Dilithium, Falcon, and SPHINCS+ for digital signatures.
Kyber and Dilithium are the primary algorithms that are to be used for most applications. They are both cryptographic algorithms based on structured lattices. Falcon is meant for cases where Dilithium's signatures may be too long and SPHINCS+ was included to avoid standardising only lattice-based signature algorithms. More details about the selected algorithms and rationale behind NIST's choices can be found from the status report of the 3rd round.
Although the first algorithms to be standardised are now chosen, the NIST PQC competition will still continue with the 4th round that includes four KEM algorithms: BIKE, Classic McEliece, HQC, and SIKE. There will be a completely new call for new signature algorithms later this year. Even the winner algorithms may still get slightly tweaked before the draft standards are out.
“NIST's announcement is a big thing for the cryptography community and for us in Xiphera. We can now focus our R&D efforts to the algorithms that will end up in the final standard”, says Kimmo Järvinen, Xiphera’s CTO and co-founder.
Stay tuned for more updates on Xiphera's forthcoming PQC portfolio later this year.