What is AES-256 encryption and is it safe?

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is one of today's standards for encrypting data. AES is a symmetrical encryption method. This means that the same key is used for encryption and decryption. AES uses a fixed block length of 128 bits and a defined key length of 128, 192 or 256 bits.

Basically, the longer the key or the number of bits, the more securely the data is encrypted and the more resources are required for encryption and decryption. The designations AES 128, AES 192 and AES 256 each refer to the bit length of the key.

InPrivy uses AES 256.

Is AES-256 crackable?

AES 256 is virtually impenetrable using brute-force methods. The years it would take to crack a single AES key is longer than the universe is old and longer than our sun is likely to shine at all. Although some theoretical attack possibilities on AES have already been found under certain conditions, AES is considered unbreakable.

Use of the AES encryption method

Encryption using the Advanced Encryption Standard has found its way into many areas and applications. Among other things, the algorithm is used for Wireless LAN according to IEEE 802.11i, VPNs with IPSec, Secure Shell (SSH), VoIP, Encryption of disk archives, RAR, 7-Zip, PGP, GnuPGP and OpenSSL.

It is also integrated in many operating systems such as macOS and fulfills various tasks. Numerous processors from Intel and AMD as well as processors for mobile devices support AES in terms of hardware and thus achieve high encryption and decryption performance.

Want more information about the security and power of AES-256 encryption? See our detailed AES-256 encryption article.