What exactly is military grade encryption? - The Happy Android

There are several places or terms in which the denomination of military grade. Military grade data erasure, military grade drop protection, and lately we've also heard of “military grade encryption” or in English “military-grade encryption”. But what exactly is military grade encryption? And what does this term imply?

We will start by disproving the term "degree": it is totally invented. There is no degree of encryption that the military considers their own, although it does exist an encryption that is used by the military and companies that want to protect your information as much as possible.

"Military grade"

We must understand that "military grade" is often used for those techniques or systems that achieve the highest possible level of safety or efficiency. For instance military grade data erasure performs many deletions of the same file until it is virtually unrecognizable. In the case of encryption it is no different: a military grade encryption is a very serious data encryption, although there is no standard approved by international armies (as is the case of data erasure with the AR380-19 army standards US Department of Defense or DoD 5220.22-ME.).

In the case of encryption standards (which we will see later) yes there are standards, although not approved by armies or defense departments. Although yes by the NSA (US National Security Agency) that approved the AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256 as valid for the security of its government. If you need the quick answer we will tell you that AES-256 is currently considered the "military grade", it is not the only one but it is the most "beast".

Encrypted ... what?

Perhaps to fully understand this term we should go back a few steps and explain (briefly) what encryption consists of. Encrypting consists of encrypting a document, in this case digital, so that it cannot be read by third parties. The encryption therefore makes such a document impossible to understand.

But for an encrypted document to be of any use - even if it sounds obvious - we will have to be able to decrypt it later ... How do we achieve this? Well, as has been done with closed doors for thousands of years ... this is where the key or "key" comes into play.

The key: mkpm pmnpv mk kmiwmpv

The key is the only way (or the fastest way to be true) to return an encrypted document to its original state. To open the door that we had closed when encrypting it, leaving the document unreadable.

How can we understand this key concept of crypto? An example of a very simple encryption system will help you understand:

Let's say that we are going to give each letter of the alphabet a new value using another letter. This, which would be the most basic encryption of all, would mean that we need a key for each of the letters of the alphabet. If we put them all together we would obtain a key of 27 digits (or 28 if you added the ñ).

Therefore, if we use the following key:



And we want to encrypt this text: «this text is secret»

We would obtain the following text:

mkpm pmnpv mk kmiwmpv

If we know the original password (remember the 28 letters changed and in order) it would be a matter of minutes that with a simple exercise of changing the letters we would be able to guess the encrypted text. But even without knowing the key we could get to decipher it through trial and error, changing one letter for another. As many letters are repeated, even a human being could decrypt it in no time ... imagine now how little a computer would take.

AES, the advanced standard

That is why when we talk about computer encryption things get complicated. Instead of a simple list of letters to substitute, we are talking about thousands of tables in which the original values ​​are exchanged depending on the master data table or "key". And this is where we come to the AES or Advanced Encryption Standards.

Similar to our previous basic encryption AES relies on value substitution but adding complex math operations during several rounds of "encryption". In order not to complicate the issue too much, let's say that the encryption key consists of a table with a multitude of values ​​that is used to modify the initial values ​​of the document that we want to make secret. Over several rounds (10 on AES-128, 12 on AES-192, and 14 on AES-256) we transform the original value into a new value.

AES-256, the most "powerful"

To know the original document we need the original key because the number of possible operations to arrive at a readable document would be so high that a super powerful computer would take years to decipher it. Be careful, it does not mean that it is impossible, simply that it takes so much effort and time that practically everyone will give up. Depending on the AES level that we use, that time will be higher, because the larger the key, the more times we have modified the original document and with more values, so it will be more complex to do the reverse path.

Finally, now yes, we can say that -at present- AES-256 encryption (the largest key with the most passes) is what is now known as “military grade” data encryption. Due to its great complexity, it is the one used in the encryption of https websites (click on the padlock of a website and click on the details tab), but also in file encryption programs or in the bank key file and other institutions that want to protect their files as much as possible.

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