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NIST IR 8214A (Initial Public Draft)

Towards NIST Standards for Threshold Schemes for Cryptographic Primitives: A Preliminary Roadmap

Date Published: November 2019
Comments Due: February 10, 2020 (public comment period is CLOSED)
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Luís T. A. N. Brandão (NIST), Michael Davidson (NIST), Apostol Vassilev (NIST)


This publication puts forward a preliminary roadmap towards the standardization of threshold schemes for cryptographic primitives. The document presents a structured approach for exploring the space of threshold schemes for potential standardization. It also discusses the need to take into account the security, configurability, modularity and capability for validation as features characterizing the schemes. The standardization process is organized into two main tracks (single-device and multi-party), and in each track the threshold schemes may range from simple to complex, in terms of standardization difficulty. With this draft, NIST is soliciting feedback from a broad audience, to aid the development of the roadmap for standardization of threshold schemes for approved cryptographic primitives.

Organization: Section 1 provides an introduction to the envisioned standardization effort. Section 2 outlines a mapping of the potential standardization space, into specification levels of domains, primitives and threshold modes. Section 3 considers application motivations for threshold schemes. Section 4 discusses concrete primitives and threshold modes of interest in the multi-party and in the single-device domains. Section 5 emphasizes several features whose consideration is required when specifying criteria for concrete items. Section 6 discusses the generic phases of development towards new standards. Section 7 proposes and motivates high-level aspects of criteria and calls for contributions from stakeholders. Appendix A describes examples of motivating applications.

NOTE: A call for patent claims is included on page iii of this draft.  For additional information, see the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) Patent Policy--Inclusion of Patents in ITL Publications.



threshold schemes; secure implementations; cryptographic primitives; threshold cryptography; secure multi-party computation; intrusion tolerance; distributed systems; resistance to side-channel attacks; standards and validation
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Document History:
11/08/19: IR 8214A (Draft)
07/07/20: IR 8214A (Final)


Security and Privacy

cryptography, testing & validation

Activities and Products

standards development