Published By - Brian Curtis

What is AES encryption and how does it works to secure your data?

What is AES encryption and how does it works to secure your data

Data is live blood for every organization. Organizations that manage data and individuals who own it should not take data security and data privacy lightly.

Data security and data privacy are two different terms that looks almost similar in meaning.

However, Data Security is a process of protecting data from unauthorized access, use, and corruption throughout the data lifecycle.

While, data privacy means using sensitive data of organizations and individuals with the consent of its owner. The user informs upfront what data user will collect and how he’ll use it before using sensitive data.

Moreover, there are few methods to protect data from unauthorized access, such as data encryption, Hashing, tokenization, and key management practices over the different platforms etc.

Encryption: Converting data into different codes to protect it from unauthorized access.

Hashing: Passing information under a formula to produce a code called the hash.

Tokenization: Converting sensitive data into a unique identification symbol.

Further, encryption is the very secure method to protect data as it produce different codes for the same set of data. There are various types of data encryption techniques.

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is most secure and advance data encryption technique .

Let us take a quick run through what is Advance Encryption Standard (AES)? What is AES encryption used for?

What is AES encryption and how does it works to secure your data?

What is AES Encryption?

With the evolution of the internet and 5G technology, the world becomes more connected. Better connectivity increases the chance of data theft. Cybercriminals are always looking for weak links to crack.

To assure that the data is secure wherever it is located, Encryption is a common method to protect it.

In addition, Encryption is the process by which information or plain text is randomly converted into different codes. And these codes are set of random characters. Codes consist of alphabets, numbers, and symbols.

Both sender and receiver need this secret code to encrypt or decrypt the information. The decryption of information takes place at the receiver’s end, which the sender decides.

Consequently, the Advanced Encryption System (AES) is a publically available encryption technique chosen by the US government to protect sensitive data.

Therefore, AES encryption is important in government computers to protect government data and electronic information.

The AES encryption is used in both software and hardware to encrypt data.

Objective

In 1997 The National Institute of standards and technology (NIST) started the development of AES, when they realized the requirement of alternate data encryption standards due to rising brute force attacks.

NIST stated that, this advance and newer encryption system is “Capable of protecting government information well in 21st century,” NIST stated.

It was intended to quickly implement in hardware and to provide decent security against various attack techniques.

Features of AES

Security

AES offers the advance level of protection against various cyber attacks.

Cost

The cost is based on computational and memory efficiency.

Implementation

It works both for software and hardware due to its flexible and simple algorithm.

How does AES Encryption work?

Furthermore, encryption is a process of converting data into different codes to protect it from unauthorized access. AES encryption has three Ciphers. AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256.

And these three blocks use different key length to encrypt and decrypt the messages.

In addition, the AES-128 uses a key length of 128-bit to encrypt or decrypt block messages. AES-192 uses 192-bit key size to encrypt or decrypt messages. And AES-256 uses 256-bit key size to encrypt or decrypt messages.

Each cipher encrypts or decrypts messages into 128-bit data blocks using cryptographic keys of 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit, respectively.

These ciphers generate secret keys. This secret key is used for both encryption and decryption of messages. Therefore, both sender and receiver should know this secret key.

As a result, any cipher can be used to protect classified and secret messages. Top secret messages need 256-bit of Key length.

There are different processing, transposition, and mixing of input plain text etc. to generate the cipher code.

In AES-128, there are ten rounds of the 128-bit key; in AES-192, there are 12 rounds of the 192-bit key; and in AES-256, there are 14 rounds of 256-bit of the key.

How does the AES algorithm works?

The AES encryption algorithm performs a complex process to generate cipher code of a plain message. AES Algorithm Steps;

First, the algorithm defines various transformations of the plain messages.

And, it arranges the data into an array.

Then, the cipher transformations are repeated number of rounds.

The first transformation refers to the transformation in AES encryption cipher and substitution of data using substitution table. Then it mixes the rows and columns. Then algorithm performs a transformation on each column and row using encryption code.

Longer keys take more rounds to complete.

Let us see this with an example

Suppose the message you want to send is “Hello… we’re YourTechDiet”.

First, The AES algorithm will put this message into substitution and generate different transformations of this text. Such as “we Hello your diet are tech”.

Second, the algorithm will arrange this transformed text into an array by mixing rows and columns using the substitution table.

Result: [1*#4hj^41@ho02!?45df542g2to09j;3k ew.5e4epie-z88&09%489y]

Third, the algorithm will transform this cipher in to number of rounds and will generate a cipher for this array.

Result: [@ho02!?45df542g2to091*#4hj^41;3k %489yew12wer5658.5e4epie-z88&].

The same cipher code will be used to encrypt or decrypt the message.

Receiver needs this same code to read the message.

The AES makes the system and data transfer more secure than any other method because of its algorithm. And so it is used in Government computers, Organizations, and various software.

Conclusion

We’re living in time where cyber attacks and data theft are common form of attacks individuals and organizations does. many real-life examples can be seen in our surroundings.

To protect sensitive and classified data, we need a strong and tamper-free system. AES does the same.

Due to its flexible algorithm and Advanced data encryption standard AES has become the most commonly used data protection standard. The Process of encryption makes AES almost uncrackable and protects secret data.

There are many social media platforms that runs on the same data protection standard. AES holds much potential in the coming future.

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