The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that the Ascon Cryptographic Algorithm Group will become the lightweight cryptography standard in 2023. Once officially published, Ascon will become the NIST-recommended cryptographic algorithms for light electronics and IoT devices.
NIST explains that IoT devices are becoming more popular (e.g. used in wearable devices, smart home applications) and are still being used to store and process sensitive personal information, including health data, financial data, etc. Further.
Implementing an encryption standard is critical to protecting people’s data, experts say. However, the weak hardware of IoT devices required an algorithm that could provide strong encryption even at very low computing power.
The scientists say that Ascon was chosen as the new standard after five years of careful selection, during which 56 more applications were considered. NIST claims that all ten finalists in this program have demonstrated exceptional performance that exceeded established standards and did not cause security issues, making it very difficult for reviewers to make a final selection.
Ascon was developed in 2014 by a group of cryptographers from the Technical University of Graz, Infineon Technologies, Lamarr Security Research and the University of Nijmegen. This family currently consists of seven algorithms: Ascon-128, Ascon-128a, Ascon-Xof, Ascon-Xofa, Ascon-Hash, Ascon-Hasha, and Ascon-80pq.