(FiveNation.com)- Bloomberg reported last week that the National Institute of Technical Standards (NIST) has been holding competitions to develop new encryption standards meant to withstand intrusions from quantum computing.
The NSA, which has been involved in part of the process, insists that it will not be able to bypass the new encryption standards.
The NSA’s director of cybersecurity, Rob Joyce, said there will be “no backdoors” in the new encryption standards.
A “backdoor” enables someone to exploit a deliberately-placed hidden “flaw” to break encryption.
According to Bloomberg, the new standards are designed to withstand quantum computing, a developing technology involving machines capable of solving mathematical problems that today’s computers can’t.
Scientists estimate that viable quantum computing is still anywhere between five to fifty years away.
The NIST contest is intended to update the algorithms that form the foundation for the widely used public-key cryptography that secures online banking, medical records, emails, access to control systems, as well as some national security work and more. The cryptography system, which was developed in the 1970s, allows for the private exchange of information on publicly accessible algorithms.
The NIST is expected to announce the winners of the contest imminently.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration unveiled a plan to use the new NIST algorithm to switch the entire US economy to quantum-resistant cryptography by 2035.
Whether the NSA can be trusted to help develop a “backdoor” resistant encryption, however, remains to be seen.
As Gizmodo reported on Monday, the National Security Agency doesn’t have a very good track record for locking up so-called “backdoors.” In reality, the NSA has a history of creating and exploiting them.
Gizmodo points out that in recent years, the NSA has planted backdoors into encryption algorithms so that it could later exploit them. In 2013, the NSA paid a security company $10 million to implant “a compromised encryption algorithm” into software that created a backdoor the NSA is widely believed to have used. In February, a backdoor that affected most Linux distributions, Bvp47, was discovered. According to Gizmodo, the Bvp47 backdoor was linked to a hacking group within the NSA.