Federal Information Processing Standards

Federal Information Processing Standards

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Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) are publicly announced standards developed by the United States federal government for use in computer systems by all non-military government agencies and by government contractors. Many FIPS standards are modified versions of standards used in the broader community, such as ANSI, IEEE, ISO, etc.

These standards cover a range of topics, including:

  1. Encryption standards: For example, the FIPS 140-2 and the new FIPS 140-3 standards define requirements for cryptographic modules (hardware or software components that handle cryptographic operations like encryption and decryption).
  2. Secure algorithms: For example, FIPS 186 is related to the digital signature algorithm, and FIPS 197 is about the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
  3. Data interchange formats: For example, FIPS 10-4 is a standard for country codes, and FIPS 5-2 is for state codes.
  4. Computer system requirements and IT practices: These cover various aspects of system security and interoperability.

The purpose of FIPS is to ensure the use of secure and interoperable IT solutions within the federal government. Because of the rigorous testing and validation process required for a product to be FIPS certified, these standards are often used by non-government industries as well.

As of my knowledge cut-off in September 2021, the FIPS standards are managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). However, specific standards are frequently updated or replaced, so for the latest information, you should visit the NIST website or the relevant governmental resource.

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