NIST Looking for Additional PQC Digital Signature Schemes

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Insider Brief

  • NIST — The National Institute of Standards and Technology — seeks more digital signature schemes for its post-quantum cryptography — PQC — standardization process.
  • Key-encapsulation mechanisms (KEMs) still under consideration: BIKE, Classic McEliece, HQC and SIKE.
  • NIST must receive application packages by June 1, 2023.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced that it is continuing its search for additional digital signature schemes to be considered in the post-quantum cryptography — PQC — standardization process.

NIST said in a release that it is continuing this fourth round with the following key-encapsulation mechanisms (KEMs) still under consideration: BIKE, Classic McEliece, HQC and SIKE. The officials added NIST is requesting additional proposals for the PQC standardization process because there are no remaining digital signature candidates under consideration.

Submission packages must be received by NIST by June 1, 2023.

The release stated: “NIST is primarily interested in additional general-purpose signature schemes that are not based on structured lattices. For certain applications, such as certificate transparency, NIST may also be interested in signature schemes that have short signatures and fast verification. NIST is open to receiving additional submissions based on structured lattices but is intent on diversifying the post-quantum signature standards.  As such, any structured lattice-based signature proposal needs to significantly outperform CRYSTALS-Dilithium and FALCON in relevant applications and ensure substantial security properties in order to be considered for standardization.”

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NIST selected its first four PQC algorithms in July. That announcement signaled a major advance in the six-year effort managed by NIST that called upon the world’s cryptographers to devise and then vet encryption methods that could resist an attack from a future quantum computer.

To submit a candidate package, including the minimal acceptability requirements, go to the PQC: Digital Signature Schemes project page.

The finalized evaluation criteria that will be used to assess the submissions are also posted at the same website.

Submission packages received before March 1, 2023, will be reviewed for completeness by NIST; the submitters will be notified of any deficiencies by March 31, 2023, allowing time for deficient packages to be amended by the submission deadline. No amendments to packages will be permitted after the submission deadline, except at specified times during the evaluation phase .

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Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses. [email protected]

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