PQC Key Serialization and Identification (Q23c)
In addition to concentrating on standardization of raw primitives, a related, parallel effort should investigate interoperability standards, such as key serialization and signature/key-exchange format support. A combination of these activities, closely related to algorithm development, would already allow one to test integration of new algorithms into higher-level constructs, such as protocol support. Since algorithm designers are best positioned to place algorithms and modes into “object identifier” (OID) hierarchies, it is reasonable to include designer-originated OID assignments, even if they end up superseded when algorithms are finalized. Managing algorithm migration through potentially large sets of transient OIDs is a structured way of migrating through algorithm revisions, somewhat resembling protocol-level versioning of similar incrementally developed standards (cf. revision history of TLS 1.3, which passed through 28 draft revisions before standardization as RFC 8446). A similar argument applies to higher-level structures, such as binary encoding of signatures, multi-signature support, or related higher-level development strongly connected to the introduction of new algorithms. This presentation highlights an example of such a key serialization format based on the CRYSTALS-Dilithium, which is part of an RFC proposal compiled by IBM, NXP and Utimaco.