Ascon has been selected as the primary recommendation for lightweight authenticated encryption in the final portfolio of the CAESAR competition!
The CAESAR competition started in 2014 with the goal of identifying excellent authenticated encryption schemes for three use-cases:
lightweight applications, high-performance software applications, and defense-in-depth.
The competition received 57 first-round candidate submissions, which were narrowed down to 6 final portfolio ciphers after 5 years of analysis and benchmarks by the international research community: a primary and a secondary recommendation for each use-case.
Our candidate Ascon is designed to be a lightweight solution for constrained devices without sacrificing cryptanalytic security, implementation security & robustness, and efficiency on other platforms.
Ascon was designed by Christoph Dobraunig (Radboud University Nijmegen), Maria Eichlseder, Florian Mendel (Infineon), and Martin Schläffer (Infineon).
We want to thank Hannes Groß (SGS) for his excellent work on hardware implementations of Ascon.
We hope the story doesn't end here, as the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is currently looking for lightweight authenticated ciphers for standardization.
NIST's LightWeight Cryptography (LWC) Competition started in spring 2019, with two submissions co-authored by IAIK researchers: Ascon and ISAP, a lightweight design focusing on robustness against implementation attacks. Both advanced to Round 2 in August 2019!