Kᴇᴄᴄᴀᴋ / Keccak Wins NIST SHA-3 Competition
Keccak (pronounced “catch-ack”) was selected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as the winning hash algorithm after a five-year competition.
A cryptographic hash function is a hash function, that is, an algorithm that takes an arbitrary block of data and returns a fixed-size bit string, the (cryptographic) hash value, such that an (accidental or intentional) change to the data will (with very high probability) change the hash value. The data to be encoded is often called the “message,” and the hash value is sometimes called the message digest or simply digest. (Wikipedia)
“Hash algorithms are used widely for cryptographic applications that ensure the authenticity of digital documents, such as digital signatures and message authentication codes. These algorithms take an electronic file and generate a short “digest,” a sort of digital fingerprint of the content. A good hash algorithm has a few vital characteristics. Any change in the original message, however small, must cause a change in the digest, and for any given file and digest, it must be infeasible for a forger to create a different file with the same digest.
The NIST team praised the Keccak algorithm for its many admirable qualities, including its elegant design and its ability to run well on many different computing devices. The clarity of Keccak’s construction lends itself to easy analysis (during the competition all submitted algorithms were made available for public examination and criticism), and Keccak has higher performance in hardware implementations than SHA-2 or any of the other finalists.” (NIST)
NIST’s Policies on Hash Functions
“SHA-1: Federal agencies should stop using SHA-1 for generating digital signatures, generating time stamps and for other applications that require collision resistance. Federal agencies may use SHA-1 for the following applications: verifying old digital signatures and time stamps, generating and verifying hash-based message authentication codes (HMACs), key derivation functions (KDFs), and random bit/number generation. Further guidance on the use of SHA-1 is provided in SP 800-131A.
SHA-2 (i.e., SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512, SHA-512/224 and SHA-512/256): Federal agencies may use these hash functions for all applications that employ secure hash algorithms. NIST encourages application and protocol designers to implement SHA-256 at a minimum for any applications of hash functions requiring interoperability. Further guidance on the use of SHA-2 is provided in SP 800-57 Part 1, section 5.6.2 and SP 800-131A.
SHA-3: When the SHA-3 hash algorithm becomes available, it may also be used for all applications that employ secure hash algorithms. At this time, there is no need or plan to transition applications from SHA-2 to SHA-3.”
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