The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is looking to update the techniques used to generate digital signatures under FIPS 186-5 and is seeking public comment, as noted in an upcoming Federal Register post.

The post, set to be finalized tomorrow, describes the new elliptic curve algorithms that NIST intends to recommend for Federal use. Comments will be open for 90 days.

“Advances in the understanding of elliptic curves within the cryptographic community have led to the development of new elliptic curves and algorithms, and their designers claim that they offer better performance and are easier to implement in a secure manner than previous versions,” the post notes.

NIST is proposing to adopt two new elliptic curves under FIPS 186-5 – Ed25519 and Ed448. The draft policy also proposes to remove the original elliptic curve DSA used in 1994 due to limited adoption in industry compared to newer versions. The draft policy would allow legacy usage of existing technologies with the authentication method, but would prohibit further use of DSA.

The draft FIPS 186-5 also includes modifications to existing elliptic curves and solicit comments on special publication (SP) 800-186, which includes many of the modifications in FIPS 186-5.

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MeriTalk Staff