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NIST to Standardize ‘Lightweight Cryptography’ Algorithms to Secure IoT Devices

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A team of security experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has decided to standardize Ascon, a group of cryptographic algorithms designed to protect information generated by Internet of Things devices.

NIST said Tuesday Ascon will provide lightweight cryptography for miniature technologies used in health care, infrastructure, transportation and other key industries that require protection from potential cyberthreats.

“Small devices have limited resources, and they need security that has a compact implementation. These algorithms should cover most devices that have these sorts of resource constraints,” said Kerry McKay, a computer scientist at NIST.

Ascon was determined as the most efficient set of lightweight algorithms for small devices after the NIST Lightweight Cryptography Team concluded a selection and evaluation process that started in 2018.

Ten finalists were selected from 57 algorithm candidates through a multi-round public review process.

Ascon was developed by a cryptography team from Graz University of Technology, Infineon Technologies, Lamarr Security Research and Radboud University.

The algorithms will support authenticated encryption with associated data and hashing to ensure the security of small platforms.