The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has chosen the first group of encryption tools that are designed to withstand the assault of a future quantum computer, which could potentially crack the security used to protect privacy in the digital systems we rely on every day—such as online banking and email software. The four selected encryption algorithms will become part of NIST's post-quantum cryptographic standard, expected to be finalized in about two years.
"Today's announcement is an important milestone in securing our sensitive data against the possibility of future cyberattacks from quantum computers," said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. "Thanks to NIST's expertise and commitment to cutting-edge technology, we are able to take the necessary steps to secure electronic information so U.S. businesses can continue innovating while maintaining the trust and confidence of their customers."
The announcement follows a six-year effort managed by NIST, which in 2016 called upon the world's cryptographers to devise and then vet encryption methods that could resist an attack from a future quantum computer that is more powerful than the comparatively limited machines available today. The selection constitutes the beginning of the finale of the agency's post-quantum cryptography standardization project.
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