AES-256, the encrypting algorithm increasing the blockchain security

The Rijndael algorithm is known in the cryptographic medium by the name of AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256, and since the year 2006 it has become one of the most popular algorithms used in symmetrical cryptography

Along with the technological advancements, especially those developed with basis on programming sciences, the abilities of the experts in vulnerating the security protocols are also growing, to commit financial crimes, frauds and steal data.

The companies developing technological products are conscious that, for users, the security guarantee for transactions, processes, and platforms is their main concern.

Due to the reach of the computer networks, beginning from the birth of the Internet, institutions that go from governmental security agencies to small startups face the challenge of improving day by day their security protocols.

AES, Advanced Encryption Standard, also known as Rijndael (pronounced “Rain Doll” in English), is an algorithmic security scheme that works as a scheme cyphered by blocks and has been adopted by the U.S. government as a part of their security system for computing sector.

A short historical review

In 1997, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), released a convocation to choose a new encrypting algorithm capable of protecting delicate information, with a projection for the XXI century. The algorithm, that was not developed at the moment, was denominated ad Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

The algorithm had to be developed with the help of the cryptographic industry and community, and the 12 of September of the same year a public convocation was released, in which the conditions that the proposals had to have were made known:

  • Be of public domain, available for everyone.
  • Be a symmetric encrypting algorithm and supporting a block size of 128 bits minimum.
  • It could have key sizes of 128, 192, and 256 bits.
  • Be implemented in hardware and software. 

A year after, on August 20 of 1998, the NIST published a list of 15 admitted algorithms in the first AES conference. In March of the following year, the second conference was carried out, in which the 5 finalist algorithms were released. 

  • MARS
  • RC6

The 5 finalist algorithms were subjected to a second, more exhaustive revision, where the NIST admitted several public analysis for these algorithms, that lasted up to May 15 of 2000.

During the development of the third AES conference that was carried out the 13 and 14 of May of 2000, that final analysis of the algorithms was made, in which the creators were present. The NIST studied all the information available to decide which would be the winner.

On October 2 of 2000, through voting, the algorithm that would finally win the contest was elected. The result was as follows:

  • MARS: 13 votes
  • RC6: 23 votes
  • RIJNDAEL: 86 votes
  • SERPENT: 59 votes
  • TWOFISH: 31 votes

The Rijndael algorithm, developed by the Belgian cryptographers Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen, both students of theKatholieke Universiteit Leuven,won the contest, and in November of 2001 the FIPS 197 was published, where it was officially approved.

Rijndael or AES-128 –  AES-192 – AES-256 

The Rijndael is known in the cryptographic medium by the name of AES-128, AES-192, and AES-256 and since the year 2006, it has become in one of the most popular algorithms used in symmetric cryptography.

The names of the algorithms are based on the cyphering difficulty that each one of them presents, the AES has 10 rounds for 182-bit keys, 12 rounds for 192-bit keys and 14 rounds for 256-bit keys. The most common attack consists of trying several aggresions over versions of the cipher with a lower number of rounds.

According to the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the AES algorithms have not experienced successful attacks since the year 2005, for which they have been declared as sufficiently secure for their employment in classified and non-classified information of the U.S. government.

Who has implemented the AES in their security protocols?

From its origins, the AES was devised to increase the security features of the protocols of the information managed by the U.S. government, which is why it constitutes the biggest user of these algorithms.

A cipher of this category, that is also backed up by an entity of superior quality such as the NSA, opened the possibility to the public to access a security protocol used by the government to protect Top Secret data.
Since then, many companies developing hardware, software, platforms, startups, etc., have chosen to implement the AES to improve security conditions.  

Some of these entities are:

Buffalo: USB Units

Buffalo has developed a USB key that stands out for offering AES cyphering of 256 bits. Usually, Buffalo uses a more common method to cipher the data through Truecrypt, while its product Buffalo RUF2-HSCL-U offers AES crypto-security, in addition to the native cyphering along with an antivirus integrated into its own memory for its USB units from 1 to 8 GB.

LeVPN: VPN Networks

The privacy and security are two of the main reasons to use a VPN service to navigate the Internet. The VPN providers use different cyphering standards that offer different security levels. VPN uses the encrypting algorithm AES-256 to protect all the traffic that goes through its servers, which provides serenity and the maximum security level possible for its users. 

Laycos: Corporate social platforms

Laycos is a Spanish corporate social network, developed to improve communication, project coordination within teams and the agile development if cool ideas in organizations around the world. Its data security protocol uses the AES-256 to protect all the information uploaded, from PDF files to any other.

Coinbase: Cryptocurrency exchange

Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet online that is simple and secure to purchase, sell, send, receive, and store bitcoin. Coinbase stands out from other services and online wallets for several features; one of them being its data security protocol, in which the data is divided employing a redundancy system, cyphered with the AES-256 and copied in USB FIPS-140 units and paper security copies. secure online account offers the My Wallet service, that provides easiness to do payments around the world, anonymously and for free, in a simple and secure way, using a computer or mobile device. This service uses AES cyphering algorithms to protect the wallet from possible thefts. Before being stored in servers, the data from the bitcoins is cyphered with AES of 256 bits.

Bonpay: Wallet and platform for cryptocurrency payments

Bonpay went from being a bitcoin wallet to be a cryptocurrency payment platform, aiming to become the most complete payment system of bitcoin, and additionally, hopes to be able to open to other cryptocurrencies. One of its special features lies in using the AES-256 cyphering standard.

Arian: Smart Crypto-Mining

The first real smart mining project, a blockchain based on the Proof of Achievement (PoAch) protocol, that aspires to maintain a decentralized ecosystem for cryptocurrency miners, using the least amount of energetic resources through conventional computers or devices. The security protocol for mining its cryptocurrency, Arian Coin, is strengthened by the AES-256 encryption to provide greater data protection to the users.

Facing the hackers

Currently, any computer system, no matter how much security it has, runs the risk of being vulnerated by hackers, or even worse, crackers that can access more basic digital information like pictures, banking documents, personal documents, payrolls, videos, etc., are prone to be exposed to third parties.

This is the reason for the existence of the AES algorithms, whose proven security has led them to become in one of the most used symmetric encrypting systems at a great scale, the only algorithm on the list of the National Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) to protect classified data. AES-256 also has the benefit of being extremely fast, which guarantees that it will not present any decrease in performance in comparison with other security protocols.

Knowing the features of these algorithms and why they were implemented will surely make easier choosing a digital product, and even more when our choice is made based on the security guarantees that it can offer.

We hope to have been helpful in clarifying the doubts that you might have had about it. If you liked this article, leave a like and your comments on our blog.

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