Encryption standard sitting finals

Five encryption algorithms have been chosen as possible successors to the weak 56bit Data Encryption Standard, which has been widely used by businesses and the US government since 1977.

The US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) sponsored a competition to choose the next-generation advanced encryption standard. Encryption algorithms from IBM, RSA Laboratories in Bedford, Massachusetts, and three teams of cryptographers from Belgium, the US, the UK, Israel and Norway were selected as finalists.

NIST officials said that cryptographers who tested the algorithms on everything from large computers to smart cards found that the five selected proposals didn't contain security vulnerabilities.

NIST will accept further public scrutiny and analysis until May.

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