Skip to main content

Discussing AES-256 encryption method

At Docubank we use the AES-256 method for our end-to-end encryption service. The method has a long history, it gained fame after it was first used by the US government to protect classified information. Since then it has been spreading around the globe and is used for securing sensitive data in various industries. Today we share some basics about AES encryption to understand its role in securing sensitive files.

What does AES stand for?

Advanced Encryption Standard (or AES) is a method for encrypting and decrypting information. When you send files over secure file transfer protocols like HTTPS there is a chance that the data will be encrypted by some sort of AES (like 256). AES is a symmetric block cipher chosen by the U.S. government to protect classified information and is implemented in software and hardware throughout the world to encrypt sensitive data.

History of becoming widespread

After the cipher the US government used was proven to be insecure, they started to look for a replacement. The process of selecting the new encryption design attracted more than 15 competitors, and in the end, Rijndael, designed by two Belgian cryptographers became the standard and acquired the title Advanced Encryption Standard, AES. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) started the development of AES in 1997.

The government wanted an encryption standard with several qualities. The cipher needed to have strength against attacks, speed, versatility, and computational requirements were important as well. The selection process took years, and only in 2001 was the Rijndael announced to be the winner. This prestigious winning ensured AES a great reputation, and since then it has gained confidence from users in various industries.

How AES works?

AES is a block cipher, and this means it is an algorithm encrypts data on a per-block basis, and the size of the block is measured in bits. AES is 128 bits long, so, plainly saying AES will produce on 128 bits of plaintext 128 bits of ciphertext. AES requires the use of keys during the encryption and decryption processes, like many known algorithms today. AES supports three keys with different lengths: 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit keys. A longer key means a stronger encryption, so AES 256 is the strongest of all AES. However shorter keys have faster encryption times, so the 128-bit version is faster than the 192 or the 256 versions. The algorithm is symmetric. Symmetric (also known as secret-key) ciphers use the same key for encrypting and decrypting, so the sender and the receiver must both know the same secret key.

Symmetric key based encryptions, like AES, are very reliable in encrypting the actual data, unlike public key encryption algorithms and asymmetric encryption techniques. Symmetric key encryptions require fewer resources and are also much faster than asymmetric ciphers.

AES has proven to be a very reliable cipher, as the only practical successful attacks against it have leveraged side-channel attacks on weaknesses found in the implementation or key management of specific AES-based encryption products.


You might also be interested in:


Share this post

Comments ()