NIST Announces SHA-3

NIST just announced the winner of the SHA-3 competition: it’s Keccak. The Keccak hash uses a completely different strategy from the SHA-2 family, something that most analysts view as an advantage.

It’s not clear how quickly Keccak will be integrated into the infrastructure. As Bruce Schneier explains, there’s still a lot of life left in the SHA-2 family and the sense of urgency that experts felt when the contest was announced in 2006 has abated somewhat in the interim. Schneier, in fact, is recommending that we stick with SHA-512 for the time being.

Congratulations to the Keccak team and to NIST. NIST ran an excellent competition and the finalists were all great hash functions. As Schneier says, any of the finalists would have been fine.

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