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Third Time’s a Charm

September 3rd, 2010 Comments off

Reality is firmly rooted: we don’t quite yet have quantum computers, nor have we really proven that P != NP.  Yet while cracking most modern encryption and hash algorithms falls into the “not impossible, just highly improbable” category, academic weaknesses do get attention.  So much so that the old SHA-1 and MD5 hashing mainstays are no longer considered acceptable.  Soon enough, SHA-2 will also be as uncool as a rickroll.

Just in the nick of time, the NIST is narrowing the list of candidates for the new SHA-3 algorithm.  The second round just finished, and it’s down to 14 candidates, with the winner to be chosen before the Aztec calendar ends in 2012.  It should be a good contest, as long as FIFA referees aren’t involved.

This is exciting stuff, and I’m sure you’ll want to play along.  Just use your jailbroken, Kraken-proofed cell phone to text your favorite to 2600.  I’m pulling for Skein, mainly because of the cool name and celebrity status.