# Unraveling the Secrets of AES Encryption: Characteristics Comparison and Implementation

## Introduction to AES Encryption

Data security has become a concern for everyone, and organizations across the globe look for ways to protect their data from cyber-attacks. The encryption of data has been one effective way of securing sensitive information.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is one such encryption algorithm that is widely used in the world today. In this article, we will look at AES encryption, its characteristics, how it compares to other encryption algorithms, its block diagram, and implementation with padding.

## Definition and Characteristics of AES Encryption

AES is a symmetric key encryption algorithm that uses a block cipher to encrypt and decrypt data. Symmetric key encryption involves using the same key to encrypt and decrypt the data.

This is in contrast to asymmetric key encryption, where two keys (public and private) are used, and the sender uses the public key to encrypt the message, while the receiver uses the private key to decrypt it. AES is a block cipher, meaning that it operates on fixed-size blocks of data.

These data blocks are usually 128 bits in size. AES has become the most popular encryption algorithm, and it encryption can be found everywhere, from securing emails, to bank accounts, to confidential documents, and many more.

## Comparison with Data Encryption Standard (DES)

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) was the predecessor of AES and was widely used in the early days of encryption. However, DES had become less secure as time passed, since the data could be decrypted with modern techniques such as brute-force attacks.

AES, on the other hand, is much more secure since it uses a larger key size and more rounds to encrypt the data. It also has a wider range of key sizes – 128 bits, 192 bits, or 256 bits – compared to DES’s single key size of 56 bits.

## Block Diagram of AES

The block diagram of AES shows how the encryption and decryption processes take place. The inputs to the algorithm are a block of plaintext and the key.

First, the plaintext is XORed with the first round key. Then, the output is passed through various rounds consisting of multiple operations.

These rounds are repeated a certain number of times depending on the key size. Finally, the ciphertext is obtained by XORing the output of the last round with the final round key.

## AES Implementation with Padding

Padding is a technique used in encryption to ensure that the message being encrypted is of a size that can be processed by the encryption algorithm. Padding adds extra characters to the plaintext to ensure that the plaintext is a multiple of the data block size.

The most commonly used padding scheme is PKCS#7. Two popular libraries used for AES implementation are cryptography and pycryptodome.

The cryptography library is a general-purpose cryptographic library that is used in Python programming language, while pycryptodome is an implementation of the pycrypto library, which provides cryptographic primitives and algorithms. Code implementation with cryptography library involves creating an encryption object, specifying the mode of encryption, initializing the encryption object with the key and IV, processing the plaintext, and returning the ciphertext.

The code implementation with pycryptodome library is similar to cryptography library but has some minor differences in syntax.

## Conclusion

AES encryption has been widely adopted by various organizations to protect sensitive information and data. Understanding the characteristics of AES encryption, its block diagram, and implementation with padding will help you secure your data.

By using libraries such as cryptography and pycryptodome, the implementation of AES encryption can be simplified. We hope that this article has provided you with information that would help you understand AES encryption and its implementation.

## Symmetric Key Encryption Process

In symmetric key encryption, the same key is used to encrypt and decrypt data. This means that the sender and receiver must have access to the same key for the encryption and decryption process to work correctly.

Symmetric key encryption is much faster than asymmetric key encryption because the keys are shorter, and the encryption and decryption process can be done using less computational resources.

## How AES Algorithm Encrypts and Decrypts Messages

The AES algorithm has a fixed block size of 128 bits and supports three key sizes: 128, 192, and 256 bits. The encryption process of AES uses a substitution-permutation network (SPN) that consists of four operations:

SubBytes: The input plaintext is replaced with a corresponding value from an S-box lookup table.

ShiftRows: The rows are shifted to provide diffusion, so that if the plaintext has repeating sequences next to each other, the output ciphertext will have the corresponding sequences in different parts of the cipher block. MixColumns: Each column is transformed by multiplying it with a fixed polynomial over a finite field.

AddRoundKey: The result of the previous steps is then XORed with a portion of the key. The output of the fourth step is called the ciphertext, which is then passed through the same operations in reverse order for the decryption process.

The S-box values are inversely substituted during decryption, the rows are shifted back, the columns are mixed with a different polynomial value, and the result is XORed with the last key.

## Usage of Fixed Block Sizes in AES Encryption

The fixed block size used in AES encryption ensures that the plaintext is divided into fixed-length blocks, which is much more efficient and secure than variable-length block sizes. Fixed-size blocks ensure that the attacker cannot guess the size of a message simply by watching the number of bytes in the encrypted message.

The fixed block size of 128 bits in AES encryption also ensures that it is possible to process large amounts of data quickly, making AES a popular choice for encryption in many different applications.

## Conclusion

In summary, AES is a symmetric key encryption algorithm that uses a fixed block size of 128 bits. The encryption process of AES uses a substitution-permutation network consisting of four operations: SubBytes, ShiftRows, MixColumns, and AddRoundKey.

The output of the fourth step is the ciphertext which is then passed through the same operations in reverse order for decryption. The fixed block size ensures that large amounts of data can be processed quickly and securely.

The implementation of AES encryption can be done using libraries such as cryptography and pycryptodome. The use of AES encryption ensures data security and provides a robust layer of protection against cyber-attacks in many different applications.

In conclusion, AES encryption is a widely-used symmetric key encryption algorithm with a fixed block size of 128 bits. Its security and effectiveness make it the preferred encryption for sensitive data in various organizations.

The encryption process uses a substitution-permutation network consisting of four operations: SubBytes, ShiftRows, MixColumns, and AddRoundKey. Implementation of AES encryption can be done using libraries such as cryptography and pycryptodome.

The use of AES encryption offers robust data protection against cyber-attacks and ensures data confidentiality. Overall, the importance of AES encryption in data security cannot be overstated, and its implementation should be a top priority for individuals and businesses alike.