The National Institute of Standards and Technology is finally on the verge of replacing the easily cracked Data Encryption Standard (DES) adopted in 1977 for protecting unclassified US government files. An encryption algorithm called Rijndael and pronounced “Rhine Doll” developed by two Belgian cryptographers appears to be the winner of the NIST’s three-year-old contest and search for a new federal security standard. Joam Daemon of Proton World International and Vincent Rijmen of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven beat out researchers from groups including IBM, RSA and Counterpane.
Assuming that the product does become the US government’s encryption standard, it is likely to be adopted by a wide range of business and Internet applications as well. A spokesman from the NIST said that the algorithm should suffice for twenty to thirty years if Moore’s law holds and quantum computers are not developed. Reportedly, a machine capable of breaking a message encrypted with the old DES standard in only one second would take 149 trillion years to break the same message encrypted using Rijndael’s lowest level of security.