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NIST Standards

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been working with industry and the cryptographic community to develop an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). The overall goal is to develop a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) that specifies an encryption algorithm(s) capable of protecting sensitive government information well into the next century. The algorithm(s) is expected to be used by the U.S. Government and, on a voluntary basis, by the private sector.

Elliptic Curves

  • August 1999 - NIST recommends (but does not require) the following set of Elliptic Curves for Federal government use. These curves have been generated and reviewed by the government and include key sizes that are commensurate  with the AES and other FIPS approved cryptographic algorithms. Providing this limited set of recommended curves will address interoperability and testing concerns. The Elliptic Curves are provided in Postscript , PDF and Word formats.  For general information about elliptic curves, you may refer to ECDSA (select "Technical Reports" and scan for "The Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA)" by D. Johnson and A. Menezes).

Key Management/Exchange

  • August 1997 - Electronic Comments submitted to NIST, regarding NIST's Federal Register announcement proposing a new FIPS for public-key based cryptographic key management and exchange.

Digital Signatures

  • February 15, 2000 - NIST announces   FIPS 186-4, Digital Signature Standard (DSS), which supersedes FIPS 186-1. New items in this FIPS include 1) the approval of Elliptic Curve DSA (ECDSA) as specified in ANSI X9.62, 2) a list of recommended elliptic curves for Federal Government use, and 3) an allowance for the continued acquisition of implementations of PKCS#1 for a transition period of eighteen (18) months.

Key Recovery Demonstration Project

  • This project was developed to support emergency access to encrypted data where required to support federal agencies needs. The most promising mechanisms for such access require a security management infrastructure. Today, the project is focused on the development of a public key infratructure (PKI) for the Federal government. Such an infrastructure can support emergency access to encrypted data for those agencies that require it, but does not impose additional requirements on agencies that do not require it.

Public Key Infrastructure

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is taking a leadership role in the development of a Federal Public Key Infrastructure that supports digital signatures and other public key-enabled security services. NIST is coordinating with industry and technical groups developing PKI technology to foster interoperability of PKI products and projects.

DES, Triple DES

  • November 17, 1999 - NIST announces the approval by the Secretary of Commerce of FIPS 46-3, Data Encryption Standard (DES). This revision to the standard specifies the use of Triple DES, as described in ANSI X9.52. (Comments were sought on draft FIPS 46-3 earlier in 1999.)


Last updated: August 13, 2013
Page created: February 23, 2001

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