The US Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology recently announced four quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms hand selected by the institute to be applied to general encryption and digital signatures. The NIST serves as the US’s standards setting body and research organization within the Department of Commerce. The algorithms have endured a six year period of processing alternatives that rival those currently used in public key encryption, digital signatures, and key exchange. The NIST began the process in 2016 when it asked the world’s best cryptographers to ver potential quantum resistant methods.
The algorithms include AES-256 for symmetric key encryption, SHA-256 and SHA-3 for hashing functions, and RSA public key encryption for digital signatures. In addition, DSA public key encryption for digital signatures was selected. For general encryption in a post quantum world, the NIST found that CRYSTALS-Kyber was the best algorithm, yet four others remain in consideration. The Kyber algorithm is already used by the likes of internet firm Cloudflare in certain applications.