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Video: AES: What Is The Advanced Encryption Standard?
AES encryption with its predecessor DES can perhaps be explained most simply by a metaphor: DES is an old padlock with a key that can be cracked with a rusty nail and some skill.
In contrast, AES is a state-of-the-art lock that requires a very complicated, long key, while at the same time unnoticedly checking your fingerprint while you open it.
With an average PC, hackers now need a maximum of 2 minutes to crack a DES key. The key was first cracked in 1998 - however, it took 56 hours and hardware for $ 250,000.
AES encryption is still a long way from this. A general vulnerability was already shown in 2011, but the model also showed that the actual security is not at risk. Other attempts to crack even the “smallest” 128-bit key have so far failed. The AES 128 encryption strength is of course the first to be targeted by hackers. Then you will take care of AES 192 and AES 256.
If you are interested in the technical implementation of encryption, you can watch this explanatory video:
However, AES has now got a powerful opponent: The US NSA (National Security Agency) is now not only using its supercomputers to monitor Internet traffic, but is also working on hacking AES encryption. The main thing is to crack encrypted messages and password-protected devices. At the moment nobody knows how far they are with it and if it works it will surely not be published.
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Differences between AES and its predecessor DES
The biggest weakness of DES was the comparatively small block size with an even smaller key. A DES block is 64 bits in size. The associated key is only 56 bits in size. This made the standard created in 1975 vulnerable to brute force attacks as the available computers became faster and stronger.
Against this background, AES encryption is not a solution for eternity and will probably be cracked at some point in the future because the available hardware is becoming more and more powerful. Until then, it will still take years to calculate even a 128-bit key.
- At AES, the block size has doubled compared to DES from 64 to 128 bits.
- The key length can be either 128, 192 or 256 bits.
- In theory, AES could be upgraded because the original Rijndael algorithm supports block sizes of 128, 160, 192, 224, and 256 bits.
If the NSA's attempts are left out, the chances of cracking AES are rather theoretical. Basically, every encryption can be cracked if you either have enough time or enough hardware. And as soon as that happens, AES will have a successor.