Support for Newer Hash Algorithms
Under the Information Technology Management Reform Act (Public Law 104-106), the U.S. Secretary of Commerce is responsible for approving the guidelines that are developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for Federal computer systems. These guidelines are issued as Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) for government use. However, NIST may develop and publish FIPS when the government feels that there are requirements, such as security, for which there are no acceptable industry standards. NIST has developed new FIPS standards that improve digital security. For example, FIPS 186-2 specifies a newer Digital Signature Standard (DSS) that specifies algorithms appropriate for applications requiring a digital, rather than written, signature. Windows .NET servers will support the new NIST hash algorithms to enhance security. As we move from beta 3 and beyond, we will have to wait and see exactly which hash algorithms will be supported in the final release, but Microsoft seems to be committed to using the newer algorithm standards to keep up with today's security challenges.