What Is AES?

What Is AES?

 By Charles Joseph | Cybersecurity Advocate
 Last update: November 25, 2023

AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) is a symmetric encryption algorithm widely used for securing data.

It’s a block cipher, meaning it encrypts data in fixed-size blocks (128 bits in the case of AES).

AES supports key lengths of 128, 192, or 256 bits, providing varying levels of security based on the key length chosen.

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History of AES

AES was established as the encryption standard by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001.

It was developed to replace the older Data Encryption Standard (DES), which was deemed insecure due to its short key length and vulnerability to brute-force attacks.

The creation of AES began with an open competition organized by NIST in 1997.

Cryptographers and researchers from around the world were invited to submit encryption algorithms that met specific security criteria.

After a thorough evaluation, testing, and public review, the Rijndael cipher, designed by Belgian cryptographers Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen, was selected as the winner in 2000 and subsequently adopted as the AES standard in 2001.

AES is used in a wide range of applications, including secure communication, file encryption, and protecting sensitive data in various industries like finance, healthcare, and government.

Its robust security, efficiency, and flexibility have made it the encryption standard of choice for organizations and governments worldwide.


Since its adoption, AES has withstood extensive cryptanalysis and is considered highly secure.

As a result, it has been approved for protecting classified information by organizations like the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

"Amateurs hack systems, professionals hack people."
-- Bruce Schneier, a renown computer security professional