AES-256 encryption: how does it protect our most sensitive data?

You have certainly heard of AES-256.

Commonly referred to as “military-graded” cipher, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is essential in government cybersecurity, encryption, and electronic data protection.

Its story started in 1997 when the American NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, made the older DES (Data Encryption Standard) retired.

The mathematical base of the AES is an algorithm called “Rijndael” excelling in performance and flexibility developed by the Belgian cryptographers Daemen and Rijmen.

For its success and robustness AES in its 256-bits version is widely used in a wide range of applications such as such as wireless communication, financial transactions, e-business, encrypted data storage, etc.

Although it is theoretically breakable, it would take to brute force AES-256 13,689 trillion trillion trillion trillion years, assuming the use of a pool of all available high-end computers on Earth.

To get the magnitude of this number, consider that the age of the Universe is estimated at 15 billion years. Current computational power does not allow its breaking, then. For now, of course.

AES-256 is thus safe. However, do not forget that cryptography is not a magic wand and does not stand on its own. If attackers cannot break ciphers, they will look for keys elsewhere.

Read more below!


AES: what is it?

AES is a symmetric encryption system. Symmetric encryption requires both parties in a communication must share a symmetric key to both encrypt and decrypt data.

To start off, three different layers of AES cryptography exist: 128-bit, 192-bit, and finally 256-bits.

The US government has stated that the 192 and 256-bits versions constitute the encryption standards for classified documents.


AES-256 Security

The 256-bit version, as we have mentioned above, scores as the most secure of the AES family.

However, what does the term “security” mean in this context? In theory, the breaking of the 256-bit AES can happen.

But do not despair: your data are still safe!

It would take to brute force AES-256 13,689 trillion trillion trillion trillion years, assuming to use a pool of all available high-end PCs on Earth.

Supercomputer cannot break it in reasonable time either. Then, current computational power cannot break it. At least for now.



To conclude, AES is a very secure encryption systems and data from transactions and users’ privacy is

When talking about cybersecurity, encryption has no magic wand, however. Indeed, security does not stand on it alone, although it helps to great extent. You may adopt the most secure and reliable cryptographic solutions, but you are still in danger.

How? If attackers cannot violate cryptography because this is either impossible or it takes billion of years to do so, they will change the objective of their violations.

Indeed, if they cannot break the key, they will look for its actual storage location such as devices.

Using a breakthrough encryption technology proves to be useless with poor-defended devices, as attackers could find the stored encryption keys.

Telsy offers both breakthrough and innovative solutions based on AES 256-bit and device hardening to protect sensitive data.