DSS gains third algorithm

DSS gains third algorithm

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has approved elliptic-curve cryptography for use under the government's Digital Signature Standard.

Last month's release of the Federal Information Processing Standard 186-2 means federal users can use any of three approved encryption algorithms for digital signatures.

In 1994, NIST established FIPS 186, which specified only the Digital Signature Algorithm. In December 1998, FIPS 186-1 added the RSA algorithm from RSA Security Inc. of Bedford, Mass., after the American National Standards Institute adopted it as a public-key cryptography standard.

Elliptic-curve cryptography also became a FIPS standard after its adoption by ANSI.

The asymmetric algorithm is as secure as the RSA algorithm but is shorter and uses less processing power in wireless handheld computers and other small devices.

'Christopher J. Dorobek, William Jackson and Bill Murray

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