The US National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) has selected Ascon as new standard for lightweight cryptography.
This concludes the NIST Lightweight Crypto (LWC) project, a 4-year competition with the goal of standardizing a lightweight authenticated encryption algorithm suitable for constrained environments.
Ascon was developed in 2014 at IAIK, TU Graz by Christoph Dobraunig (now at Intel), Maria Eichlseder, Florian Mendel, and Martin Schläffer (both now at Infineon).
The team has since continuously worked on the Ascon family to propose new family members, develop efficient and secure implementations, provide new security proofs and security analysis, and more.
This effort was also supported by several IAIK colleagues over the years, particularly Hannes Groß and Robert Primas, who provided an extensive range of efficient implementations. The Ascon team thanks everybody who has contributed to this success.
The NIST LWC competition started in 2019 with 56 Round-1 candidates, which were narrowed down in multiple rounds to 10 finalists and finally a single winner. We are proud that the finalists included all 3 submissions co-designed by IAIK cryptographers:
- Ascon, previously selected as primary choice for lightweight cryptography in the CAESAR competition for authenticated encryption, designed by Christoph Dobraunig, Maria Eichlseder, Florian Mendel, and Martin Schläffer
- ISAP, a design with inherent robustness against certain implementation attacks, designed by Christoph Dobraunig, Maria Eichlseder, Stefan Mangard, Florian Mendel, Bart Mennink, Robert Primas, and Thomas Unterluggauer
- Elephant, a parallel design by Tim Beyne, Yu Long Chen, Christoph Dobraunig, and Bart Mennink.
Media links: NIST announcement · TU Graz · APA · ORF.at · Der Standard · Kleine Zeitung · Hacker News