What is AES-256 Encryption? Its Working, Uses Cases & Strength

What is AES-256 Encryption

There have been multiple encryption standards used for privacy and security purposes. AES-256 encryption is among the strongest encryption methods ever developed. This encryption is used by the U.S. government for protecting state data.

This cryptographic encryption protocol was developed by NIST in 1997 as a successor of DES (Data Encryption Standard) which was an older encryption method. Here’s a detailed overview of this military-grade encryption and how does it actually work.

AES-256 Encryption — Explained

AES-256 encryption is a type of encryption that provides the highest form of security. It is used to store sensitive data and code, as well as for internet privacy. The AES-256 encryption can take any data and turn it into a secure code that cannot be decrypted without a password or key.

It was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1997 but has been updated since then to keep up with evolving technology. Another version, published in 2013, is called Rijndael-AES 256 which uses three different keys: two are public keys for encrypting messages; one private key for decrypting messages.

This system allows you to share your message with anyone without them being able to read it if they don’t have the private key. This system allows you to share your message with anyone without them being able to read it if they don’t have the private key.

How does AES-256 Encryption Work?

AES-256 encryption is a type of encryption that provides the highest form of security. It takes your information and turns it into a secure code that cannot be decrypted without a password or key.

AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard, 256 refers to the key size. A key size of 256 bits is considered secure because it would currently take all the computers in the world longer than the age of our universe (13.7 billion years) to crack it.

Just as with any other encryption process, AES-256 starts by taking data, such as text or numbers, and scrambling it so no one can read what was written. In this case, 256 bits are used instead of 128 bits to create a more complex shield for your data to protect it from both current and future hackers. There are two pieces created in the process: an “Encrypting Key” which produces ciphertext — essentially meaningless symbols that appear completely different from the original input and “Decryption Keys” needed to convert the ciphertext back into plain text.

AES-256 Use Cases

AES-256 encryption is used by many top security authorities around the world for protecting classified information. It’s also used on secure websites like banks and hospitals, to secure your credit card data while transferring between computers, and in cryptography systems where there is no hope of ever recovering the password (e.g. bitcoin wallets, military communications).

Google Drive uses AES-256 encryption (if supported by the browser). If someone somehow intercepted your network traffic while it was traveling over the internet without actually stealing anything — the person would only see encrypted gibberish, even if they guessed the password. Even if somebody did steal one of Google’s server farms or gain physical access, theoretically nobody will ever be able to read your files without your password.

How Secure is AES-256 Encryption?

This encryption algorithm is a symmetric-key cipher, and it can be used with either a block or stream cipher. This form of encryption does not require the transfer of secret keys via a public channel for two users who want to communicate securely.

In fact, because no public-key cryptography is involved, it qualifies as one of the most secure ways to transmit data from point A to point B on a computer network. There are many algorithms in use today that rely solely on secret exchange protocols for securing information, but AES-256 is considered to be among the safest options available.

Is it possible to crack AES-256 Encryption?

Theoretically, no encryption can be cracked. However, there are two primary types of AES-256-encrypted data: symmetric and asymmetric keys. If the key is symmetric, and its brute force approach is decrypted, the result is a one-on-one comparison between input and output data. If the key is asymmetric, and it’s a brute force approach to be decrypted, then it would require additional time because of the steps that are involved in decrypting the code.

Bottom Line

AES-256 encryption is indeed the highest form of security available to protect sensitive data and code. This is the reason why many VPN providers also claim to use AES-256 encryption for establishing connections across all their servers. Hence, it is safe to say that AES-256 is unbreakable.

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