There’s a new standard hash algorithm in town, its official title is SHA-3 but its birth name is Keccak. NIST announced yesterday the winner of a long contest, that selected from many submissions the 5 algorithms most apt to substitute the current SHA-2 hash method, and from those 5 Keccak emerged as a victor.
As I wrote in a previous post I am lucky to work in the same environment (STMicroelectronics Milan sites) as one of the authors, and I give him my sincere congratulations. One of the other authors is Joan Daemen, who is one of the authors of the Rijndael algorithm which is the basis of AES.
The Keccak algorithm has two evident strong points:
- it’s very different from SHA-2 and SHA-1, and this means a targeted attack to SHA-2 most probably has no impact on SHA-3 security
- it’s designed to be best implemented in hardware, so that integrated circuit solutions could provide very fast results.
The common user might never need to know that there’s a new hashing algorithm under the hood of many of its Internet activity, but this kind of news can reassure the world by showing that there are smart people thinking about our safety and actively working on improving it.