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US give AES the official yes

256-bit encryption standard formally approved

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The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) has at long last received the official stamp of approval which allows it to be used by the US Federal Government.

AES represents the fruits of a four-year project by cryptographers to develop a next generation encryption standard, and is expected to replace the Data Encryption Standard algorithm which was introduced in 1977.. Products implementing AES are expected to come to market shortly in the private and public sectors, protecting financial transactions and other sensitive data contained on everything from supercomputers to smartcards.

The encryption technique used in AES was selected through a competition organised by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Rijndael (pronounced Rhine-doll) emerged as the eventual winner and was selected as the basis of AES in October 2000. The algorithm was developed by a pair of Belgian researchers Joan Daemen of Proton World International and Vincent Rijmen of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Each algorithm submitted for the AES competition was required to support key sizes of 128, 192 and 256 bits. Rijndael was eventually selected because it had the best combination of security, performance, efficiency and flexibility. ®

Reg factoid

For a 128-bit key size, there are approximately 340 undecillion (340 followed by 36 zeros) possible keys.

External links

Commerce Secretary Announces New Standard for Global Information Security

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Belgians win US encryption standard contest

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