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ST Microelectronics celebrates its contribution to a new global digital security standard

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World-leading semiconductors specialist, ST Microelectronics congratulates three cryptography experts from its Secure Microcontroller Division and Advanced System Technology Group for winning an international competition to develop a new global industry standard for digital security.

The American National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began the competition in 2007 to select a successor to the Secure Hash Algorithm SHA-2 standard currently used in numerous secure applications worldwide. NIST selected five finalists from 64 competitors in 2010 and announced the winning algorithm to be published as the new Secure Hash Algorithm SHA-3 standard earlier this month.

Secure hash algorithms are widely used to prevent tampering with data such as digital signatures and message authentication codes, and are vital to everyday activities from online commerce and pay TV access to banking, computer security, secure data storage and government communications.

The winning team developers included three ST experts, Joan Daemen, co-inventor of the AES (a secret key encryption industry standard), Guido Bertoni and Gilles Van Assche in addition to another Belgian cryptographer and former ST employee, Michaël Peeters.

Codenamed Keccak by its developers, the algorithm features a small memory footprint and runs well on many different types of computing devices. It enables hardware implementations with higher performance than SHA-2 and its relatively compact software footprint is a perfect fit for smart devices and Internet-Of-Things applications, opening new opportunities for system and protocol designers.

Keccak is highly resistant to the types of attacks that could potentially succeed against some of the current secure hash algorithms.

According to Marie-France Florentin, General Manager Secure Microcontroller Division, ST Microelectronics, the win is a great achievement by the Keccak team, whose algorithm will now become a new worldwide standard for digital security.

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