New formula for security selected
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Oct 03, 2000
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has proposed a new data
encryption algorithm designed to better protect information stored on computers
and deemed essential for e-commerce.
On Monday, NIST officials chose the Rijndael formula developed by Belgian
cryptographers Joan Daemen of Proton World International and Vincent Rijmen
of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven to become the new Advanced Encryption
Standard (AES). The formula beat four other finalists after a three-year
When approved, AES will replace the aging Data Encryption Standard.
NIST adopted DES in 1977 as an information processing standard to be used
by federal agencies to protect sensitive, unclassified information.
The new standard is essential for e-commerce programs to flourish, said
Cheryl Shavers, the Commerce Department's undersecretary for technology.
"Security is one of the basics we can not ignore for e-business and e-government"
to take off, she said, adding that buyers and sellers need to have confidence
that the information is secure.
NIST will formally announce the proposed standard in the Federal Register
in several months and anticipates making it a federal information processing
standard. It will be made available publicly and royalty-free, but it will
not be mandatory.
NIST, however, expects government and industry to quickly adopt the
new standard, as was the case with DES, said NIST Director Ray Kammer. The
National Security Agency, the Treasury Department and financial institutions
are among the organizations that are expected to adopt the algorithm quickly,
Although NIST could have selected more than one encryption standard,
NIST decided on one to encourage interoperability, Kammer said. "By selecting
one, we have expectations of it being widely implemented in one version."
NIST chose the Rijndael algorithm in part because it has "exceptional
performance" on most platforms, low memory requirements and is easy to implement,