# What is AES Data Encryption?

Data encryption is a process of securing digital data into an undecipherable format. This data is typically scrambled by using hashing algorithms, which convert data into a secret scrambled encryption format. Advanced encryption standard (AES) is currently the highest defined level for data encryption. The AES data encryption standard requires a 256-bit key for the encryption process. This large key enables the creation of extremely complex mathematical functions for purposes of securing important data.

Cryptography is the science of writing secret encrypted codes, in this case which require special deciphering keys to interpret. This art has been used for centuries as a form of hiding important information from prying eyes. Original forms of cryptography were found in the Egyptian hieroglyphs, which were written in a non-standard method. With the creation of computers and computer data scientists understood the need and importance of creating an encryption processes for sensitive digital data. AES data encryption enables the creation of complex ciphering algorithms.

AES is a form of cryptography that has been adopted as the standard for the United States. Currently, encryption standards are managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST had previously defined the original standard for encryption as the data encryption standard (DES). The DES standard featured a lower level set of security algorithms, which made it easy to break. This standard was superseded by the more difficult AES data encryption standard in 2001.

A hash function is a mathematical program that converts character strings into a fixed-length hash value. Cryptographic hash functions must be designed in a manner as to reduce attacks by adversaries. These adversaries illegally attempt to decipher encrypted data by using hacking tools. AES data encryption is difficult to decipher because of the advanced 256-bit key.

Most AES data encryption functions are created by using hashing algorithms. These algorithms are the mathematical functions that convert data into secret encrypted codes. These codes can only be deciphered with a special key, which is used by the hashing algorithms to unlock the secret data. There are many forms of hash algorithms that meet the standards defined by the AES data encryption standard.

The rijndael encryption algorithm is an advanced encryption function that meets the standards of AES. This algorithm was created by Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen as a candidate for meeting the standards of AES in the early 2000s. This hashing algorithm supports either 128,196-bit or 256-bit key encryption. This makes the encryption function extremely difficult to decipher without the proper keys.

## Discussion Comments

@Mammmood - I’ve heard about the Rijndael encryption algorithm. I’ve never had to use it myself but a friend of mine who is a developer does. It’s out on the Internet as an open source library for .NET. You can download it and plug it into your applications.

Whether it works better than commercial third party solutions I don’t know. You always have various data encryption methods available to you. To me it depends on how important the data is.

If it’s your lifeblood then I suppose you could go with a commercial product, but I would at least give the Rijndael encryption algorithm a look.

We’re getting ready to roll out a new software product at my workplace. I have been asked to review various licensing tools out there to use with the product. We need a solution that is secure and easy to deploy.

One tool that I am currently reviewing boasts that it uses AES 256 bit encryption. I have to admit I didn’t really know what this was except that I heard it was super secure and that is good enough for us.

We used to have our own encryption algorithm developed by a couple of our programmers, but after we heard hackers had broken into it we decided to go with a commercial product.

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