(EE.News.Europe) European researchers in the Crystals group are leading in the development of post-quantum encryption algorithms in both the public key and digital signature categories of the process run by the NIST security standards body in the US. NIST sees one algorithm out of each category being standardised. The Crystals team includes researchers from ARM, NXP Semiconductor, CWI Amsterdam, Ruhr University Bochum, Radboud University in the Netherlands, IBM research in Zurich and ENS Lyon.
There are seven third round finalists, with Crystals-kyber competing with SABER from imec-COSIC at KU Leuven as well as the Classic McEliece, the open source NTRU developed in the US and the in the public key encryption category. These are all lattice-based algorithms that are less vulnerable to cracking by quantum computers. Classic McEliece is backed by Intel as well as researchers from Chicago, Yale, Oaska in Japan, Fraunhofer in Germany and TU Eindhoven in the Netherlands as well as Inria in France.The Classic McEliece now includes researchers from ETH Zurich and Post-Quantum in London.
In the Digital Signatures, Crystal-Dilthium is competing with Falcon and Rainbow. Falcon is backed by PQShield, a spinout of the University of Oxford, UK while Rainbow is led by researchers out of the University of Cincinnati.
The finalists will continue to be reviewed for consideration for standardization at the conclusion of the third round. As CRYSTALS-KYBER, NTRU, and SABER are all structured lattice schemes, NIST intends to select, at most, one for the standard. The same is true for the signature schemes CRYSTALS-DILITHIUM and FALCON. In NIST’s current view, these structured lattice schemes appear to be the most promising general-purpose algorithms for public-key encryption/KEM and digital signature schemes.
A detailed description of the decision process and rationale for selection are available on the NIST post-quantum webpage, www.nist.gov/pqcrypto.