Competition to 'hash' out algorithm standard

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is searching for a few good teams to develop a new cryptographic hash algorithm.

This standard would replace the current National Security Agency-developed secure hash standard specified in Federal Information Processing Standard 180-2.

Called the Secure Hash Algorithm-2 (SHA-2), the standard is up for review as part of a regular cycle since FIPS 180-2 was introduced in 2002. NIST wants to update the algorithm because of what it called 'serious attacks' against the SHA-1 algorithm, which shares similar designs with SHA-2.

'Because serious attacks have been reported in recent years against cryptographic hash algorithms, NIST has decided to standardize an additional hash algorithm to augment the ones currently specified in FIPS 180-2,' NIST stated in a press release.

Entries for the Cryptographic Hash Algorithm Competition are due Oct. 31, 2008. Submitted formulas will be publicly scrutinized and evaluated by the cryptographic research community.

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