Advanced Encryption Standard
NIST SP 800-46
The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) specifies a U.S. Government-approved cryptographic algorithm that can be used to protect electronic data. The AES algorithm is a symmetric block cipher that can encrypt (encipher) and decrypt (decipher) information. Encryption converts data to an unintelligible form called ciphertext; decrypting the ciphertext converts the data back into its original form, called plaintext. The AES algorithm is capable of using cryptographic keys of 128, 192, and 256 bits to encrypt and decrypt data in blocks of 128 bits. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) selected the algorithm, called Rijndael (pronounced "Rhine Doll"), in an international public competition. Rijndael was developed by Belgian cryptographers Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen.