Wednesday 3 October 2012

Keccak Wins The SHA-3 Competition

After five years of competition, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the winner of SHA-3 competition. The Keccak has been selected as the standard for SHA-3 algorithm among the 64 entries made for SHA-3 cryptographic algorithm announced by NIST back in November 2, 2007.

After three rounds of competitions, the finalists were five hash algorithms. On December 9, 2010, NIST announced five third-round candidates – BLAKE, Grøstl, JH, Keccak and Skein, to enter the final round of the competition. And, the winner is Keccak.

Keccak was designed by a team of cryptographers from Belgium and Italy, they are:

  • Guido Bertoni (Italy) of STMicroelectronics,
  • Joan Daemen (Belgium) of STMicroelectronics,
  • Michaël Peeters (Belgium) of NXP Semiconductors,
  • Gilles Van Assche (Belgium) of STMicroelectronics.

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, and Keccak has higher performance in hardware implementations than SHA-2 or any of the other finalists.

Keccak has the added advantage of not being vulnerable in the same ways SHA-2 might be,” says NIST computer security expert Tim Polk. “An attack that could work on SHA-2 most likely would not work on Keccak because the two algorithms are designed so differently.

Though SHA-2 is still considered to be still secure enough for general usage, SHA-3 is thought to provide a new security tool for system and protocol designers, and that may create opportunities for security in networks that did not exist before.

If you are interested in quick summary about the pseudocode of Keccak, you can read the summary of Keccak.