There are several emerging areas in which highly constrained devices are interconnected, typically communicating wirelessly with one another, and working in concert to accomplish some task. Examples of these areas include: sensor networks, healthcare, distributed control systems, the Internet of Things, cyber physical systems, and the smart grid. Security and privacy can be very important in all of these areas. Because the majority of current cryptographic algorithms were designed for desktop/server environments, many of these algorithms do not fit into the constrained resources. If current algorithms can be made to fit into the limited resources of constrained environments, their performance is typically not acceptable.
NIST has begun to examine applications in constrained environments to determine whether NIST should develop a lightweight encryption standard. In 2015 NIST held the first workshop on Lightweight Cryptography that included industry, academic and government experts. The second workshop is planned for October 2016.
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