Lightweight electronics, meet the heavyweight champion for
protecting your information: Security experts at the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) have announced a victor in their program to
find a worthy defender of data generated by small devices. The winner, a group
of cryptographic algorithms called Ascon, will be published as NIST’s lightweight
cryptography standard later in 2023.
The chosen algorithms are designed to protect information created
and transmitted by the Internet of Things (IoT), including its myriad tiny
sensors and actuators. They are also designed for other miniature technologies
such as implanted medical devices, stress detectors inside roads and bridges,
and keyless entry fobs for vehicles. Devices like these need “lightweight
cryptography” — protection that uses the limited amount of electronic resources
they possess. According to NIST computer scientist Kerry McKay, the newly
selected algorithms should be appropriate for most forms of tiny tech.