NIST announces the publication of NIST Internal Report (NISTIR) 8214, Threshold Schemes for Cryptographic Primitives. This publication provides a high-level overview of the possibilities that threshold schemes bring for enhancing the robustness of implementations of cryptographic primitives, such as signatures and encryption. The goal of this document is to help readers understand the challenges and opportunities offered by threshold cryptography, typically as a tradeoff between different security properties desired in implementations. Security goals of interest include the secrecy of cryptographic keys, as well as enhanced integrity and availability, among others. There is also an identified potential in providing resistance against side-channel attacks, which exploit inadvertent leakage from real implementations.
NIST intends to initiate the standardization of threshold schemes for cryptographic primitives. This document poses a number of representative questions to take into account in this effort. This considers several high-level characterizing features of threshold schemes, including the types of threshold, the communication interfaces (with the environment and between components), the executing platform (e.g., single device vs. multiple devices) and the setup and maintenance requirements. Also relevant are the implications that this standardization would bring to the validation and use of practical implementations of threshold cryptographic schemes.