NIST Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization Conference enters the 3rd round


ATHENE involved in conference with three contributions

Security must also be guaranteed in the age of quantum computers. As early as 2017, the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) therefore called for the submission of suitable public-key encryption, key agreement, and digital signature processes that should also be able to withstand attacks utilizing future quantum computers.


The public selection process runs over several rounds. In each round, the submissions are discussed publicly and adjusted taking the comments into consideration. The conference of the third round will take place from June 7th to 9th, 2021, in which seven final and eight alternative procedures will be presented and discussed.

One researcher each from Fraunhofer SIT | ATHENE and the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy investigated this question for the Cortex-M4 architecture, a microcontroller architecture especially for embedded systems, and made corresponding comparative performance measurements. PQC schemes are crucial for development in industries with long-lifecycle products such as the automotive industry. Since precisely here embedded systems are the main components, their comparative performance measurements are highly relevant.

With the result of the two researchers, which they are presenting today at the 3rd PQC Standardization Conference, precise comparative values of the speed of the algorithms for widely used systems are available.

Another paper by ATHENE researchers from TU Darmstadt, which will also be presented today, analyses the security properties of the remaining candidate signature schemes and presents solutions to increase security. This is a collaboration with the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security.

In addition, ATHENE researcher Dr. Haya Shulman from Fraunhofer SIT moderates the panel "PQC Considerations for DNSSEC".


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