What Is The Difference between AES and DES Ciphers?

So, what is the main difference between AES and DES cipher? The former developed in 2001 and the latter in 1977. The purpose was to improve the network system security and loading time. 

Both DES and AES are symmetric blocker ciphers. AES was typically introduced to overcome the weaknesses that come with DES. 

Research shows that these algorithms in network systems usually confuse many people. These blocker ciphers have some close relationship with each other. 

This article provides further differences between AES and DES ciphers in a tabular form. Take the time to read through the similarities between AES and DES cipher for a deeper understanding. 

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Difference between AES and DES Ciphers (With Table)

Basic Terms AES Cipher DES Cipher 
Year of Development 2001 1977
Full Terms Advanced Encryption Standard Data Encryption Standard
Rule of Encryption Substitution and Permutation Feistel structure
Ciphertext Generate 128, 192, 256 bits Generate 64-bits only
Length of Key Has 128, 192, 256 bits Has  56-bits only
Number of rounds Has variable numbers of rounds such as 10 rounds of 128 bits, 12 rounds of 192 bits, and 14 rounds of 256 bits Has fixed number of rounds such as 16
Speed Has high speed Has low speed
Security Highly secured Poorly secured
Popularity Widely Used Less used
Plaintext Has 128, 192, 256 bits Has 64-bits only

What Is AES Cipher?

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is a symmetric key encryption algorithm established as a global standard for securing sensitive data. Introduced in 2001 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), AES replaced the aging Data Encryption Standard (DES) and aimed to provide a more robust and secure method of encryption.

AES operates as a block cipher, encrypting fixed-size blocks of data using keys of varying lengths—128, 192, or 256 bits. The algorithm employs a substitution-permutation network, a series of mathematical operations including substitution boxes, permutation layers, and mixing operations. This intricate process enhances the security of AES, making it resistant to various cryptographic attacks.

One of AES’s notable features is its adaptability to different key lengths, allowing users to choose the level of security suitable for their specific applications. The encryption and decryption processes involve multiple rounds of transformation, with the number of rounds determined by the key size—10 rounds for 128-bit keys, 12 rounds for 192-bit keys, and 14 rounds for 256-bit keys.

AES has become the de facto standard for encrypting sensitive information in various applications, including communication protocols, file encryption, and securing data at rest. Its widespread adoption and rigorous evaluation have solidified its reputation as a reliable and secure encryption algorithm in the realm of modern cryptography.

What Is DES Cipher?

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) is a symmetric key block cipher that was widely used for secure data transmission and storage. Developed in the early 1970s by IBM and later adopted by the U.S. government as a federal standard, DES became a cornerstone in the field of cryptography for several decades.

DES operates on fixed-size blocks of data, encrypting or decrypting 64-bit blocks using a 56-bit key. The encryption process involves a series of substitution and permutation operations known as the Feistel network, which undergoes multiple rounds to achieve the desired level of security. During each round, the data block is divided into two halves, and one half is subjected to various mathematical transformations based on the key.

While DES played a crucial role in securing communications and data in its early years, its fixed key length has become a vulnerability in the face of advancing computational power. The 56-bit key size, once considered secure, is now susceptible to brute-force attacks. The DES algorithm underwent scrutiny, and concerns about its security led to the development of more advanced encryption standards, such as the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

Despite its decreasing relevance in modern cryptographic applications, DES continues to be studied for historical and educational purposes. Its limitations prompted the transition to more secure encryption algorithms, emphasizing larger key sizes and resistance to contemporary cryptographic threats.

Main Difference Between AES and DES Cipher

  1. AES has high speed when compared to DES hence the reason why it was later used to replace them later.
  2. AES is highly secured than DES. Hence mostly used to secure government secrets from intruders.
  3. The number of rounds in AES is quite variable while those of DES are fixed.
  4. AES uses substitution and permutation as a principle of encryption while DES uses a Feistel structure of encryption.
  5. AES is widely used as compared to DES since it uses modern technology that is highly responsive and secured.
  6. DES was discovered in 1977 while AES in 2001. This implies that AES uses modern technology while DES obsolete technology.
  7. AES has a secrete more key making it secured while DES has less secrete key hence not secured 
  8. AES has no known attacks while DES has known attacks such as Brute-force, Linear crypt-analysis, and Differential crypt-analysis.
  9. AES derives from Square cipher whereas DES derives from Lucifer cipher.
  10. AES can encrypt 128 bits of plain text while DES can encrypt 64 bits of plain text
  11. The AES key length varies from 128 bits, 192 bits to 256 bits whereas the DES key length is 56 bits.
  12. The DES data block is divided into two halves whereas AES data occur in a single block 

Similarities Between AES and DES In Algorithm

  1. Both are data encryption 
  2. Both use plaintext 
  3. Both have a key size 
  4. Both have security keys 
  5. Both are derivative algorithm

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which Is Better AES or DES?

AES. It allows the user to choose a 128-bit, 192-bit, or 256-bit key. Besides that, it has a more mathematically efficient and elegant cryptographic algorithm.

  • Is AES a Feistel Cipher?

No. It is a substitution-permutation network instead.

  • Is AES a Block Cipher?

Yes.  It has a block size of 128 bits and supports three possible key sizes – 128, 192, and 256 bits. It is the most widely used block cipher in the world.

  • Is AES a Symmetric Cipher?

Absolutely. It uses the same key is used for both encrypting and decrypting the data.

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To sum up, the blog post has provided a comprehensive exploration of the differences between the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) and DES (Data Encryption Standard) ciphers. While both are symmetric encryption algorithms, AES has emerged as a more secure and robust choice in modern cryptographic applications.

The analysis highlighted the key factors contributing to AES’s superiority, such as its use of a variable key size, stronger substitution-permutation network, and resistance to various cryptographic attacks. In contrast, DES, once a stalwart in encryption, now faces vulnerabilities due to its fixed key size and susceptibility to brute-force attacks.

The conclusion underscores the importance of considering the security requirements of a specific application when choosing between AES and DES. In today’s landscape, where cyber threats are increasingly sophisticated, the adoption of AES is generally recommended for its enhanced security features and widespread acceptance as a global encryption standard.

In making an informed decision, recognizing the historical context, strengths, and weaknesses of both ciphers becomes crucial. As technology advances and encryption standards evolve, staying attuned to the latest developments in cryptographic research is imperative for maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of sensitive information in various digital environments.

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