Post-Quantum Cryptography – Round Two

After a bit more than a year since round one, we are now in the round two of post-quantum cryptography standardization process.

NIST Status Report trimmed original list of 69 algorithms to 26 that will be further studied. Based on the previous experience I would think there will be a third round in a year or so but NIST leaves open a possibility that we’ll immediately get the two finalists (one for public key exchange and one for signing).

My Star Trek key signing favorite (CRYSTALS-DILITHIUM) is actually still in the game and a further analysis is encouraged – probably as close as it gets to a positive review from NIST. It’s key exchange brother CRYSTALS-KYBER might have gone a bit too far with it’s “fishy” security proof but more analysis is needed there.

Star Wars universe is also strong with NewHope key exchange algorithm. Force is indeed strong within this one and I would dare to say it remains a strong favorite – especially due to it’s current use in Chrome.

NTRU Prime is still in there but NIST did notice a bit overly optimistic security level claims that might need to be adjusted in the future. I believe constant-time decryption this algorithm brings is a really interesting thing – especially when it comes to hardware and side-channel attacks.

I noted FALCON for its performance with a small memory footprint and that won it enough points to get into round two. However, difficulty of correct implementation and a huge potential for side-channel attacks might leave it here.

DAGS, which I loved for it’s tweakability of server/client load unfortunately stayed in round one. Likewise, RLCE-KEM noted for its performance was left behind too – largely due to complexity of (correct) implementation.

One algorithm I didn’t note in round one is Three Bears. Not only it has an awesome name and uses Mersenne primes but it also offers excellent performance. Might be a worthy challenger to NewHope.

Next update in 12-18 months. :)

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