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  Date: 26/10/2012

ST's experts win cryptography competition by NIST

Three cryptography experts from STMicroelectronics' Secure Microcontroller Division and Advanced System Technology Group won an international competition to develop a new global industry standard for digital security Ė the Secure Hash Algorithm SHA-3.

The competition was started in 2007 by the American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to select a successor to the Secure Hash Algorithm SHA-2 currently used in numerous secure applications worldwide. Initially, 64 teams entered the competition. NIST selected five finalists in 2010 and announced the winning algorithm, to be published as the new SHA-3 standard, earlier this month. Experts from across the cryptographic community analyzed and reviewed the candidate algorithms throughout the competition.|

Secure hash algorithms are widely used to prevent tampering with data such as digital signatures and message authentication codes, and are vital to everyday activities from online commerce and pay-TV access to banking, computer security, secure data storage, and government communications.

The winning entry was codenamed Keccak by its developers, a four-strong team that included three ST experts - Joan Daemen, co-inventor of the AES (a secret key encryption industry standard), Guido Bertoni, and Gilles Van Assche - and another Belgian cryptographer, and former ST employee, MichaŽl Peeters. In addition to providing enhanced security, the Keccak algorithm features a small memory footprint and runs well on many different types of computing devices. It enables hardware implementations with higher performance than SHA-2 or any of the other competition finalists and its relatively compact software footprint is a perfect fit for smart devices and Internet-Of-Things applications, opening new opportunities for system and protocol designers. Keccak is highly resistant to the types of attacks that could succeed against current secure hash algorithms (SHA-2).
Author: Srinivasa Reddy N
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