January 25, 2001, 11:35 AM — OUT OF 15 submissions, officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce picked a Belgium algorithm as its Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
The financial community and Department of Treasury are expected to be first adopters of the new standard, which will likely kick AES into wider use in the private sector.
The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 1997 has been looking for a symmetric-key encryption algorithm that will be used to protect sensitive data.
NIST settled on Rijndael -- a standard submitted by two Belgium inventors -- largely because of interoperability issues, said Ray Kammer, NIST director.
"Rijndael showed exceptional performance on most platforms and it has low memory requirements," said Kammer, who also mentioned ease of implementation in detailing Rijndael's attributes.
NIST had earlier signaled it might tap more than one of its five finalists, but decided against that strategy since it could complicate interoperability, Kammer said.
Development kits for Rijndael -- which carries no royalty fees -- could be available as early as Monday afternoon. However, working with source code now available on the NIST site (at www.nist.gov/aes), some looking to pounce on NIST's selected standard have already developed programs based on the agency's five finalists, Kammer said.