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Elliptic curve cryptography will be critical to the adoption of strong cryptography as we migrate to higher security strengths. NIST has standardized elliptic curve cryptography for digital signature algorithms in FIPS 186 and for key establishment schemes in NIST Special Publication 800-56A.
In FIPS 186-2, NIST recommended 15 elliptic curves of varying security levels for use in these elliptic curve cryptography standards. The provenance of the curves was not fully specified, leading to recent public concerns that there could be a hidden weakness in these curves. We remain confident in their security and are not aware of any significant attacks on the NIST curves when used as described in our standards and implemented correctly.
However, more than 15 years has passed since these curves were developed, and the community now knows more about the security of elliptic curve cryptography and practical implementation issues. The current state-of-the-art has advanced. In research and other standards venues, newer curves have been proposed which pursue better performance or simpler and more secure implementations.
The workshop is to provide a venue to engage the crypto community, including academia, industry, and government users to discuss possible approaches to promote the adoption of secure, interoperable and efficient elliptic curve mechanisms.