Data encryption converts data into an unintelligible form so that it can only be used if converted back to its original form via decryption. Decryption is the reverse process of encryption. Decryption requires access to a secret key ( a decryption key) and an optional password to accomplish this. Encrypted data is commonly referred to as cipher text, while unencrypted data is called plain text. Additional security measures and encryption can be combined to form a very effective data protection mechanism, especially for SSDs as we shall see.
The Advanced Encryption Standard, AES, is a symmetric encryption algorithm and one of the most secure. The United States Government uses it to protect classified information, and many software and hardware products use it as well. This method uses a block cipher, which encrypts data one fixed-size block at a time, unlike other types of encryption, such as stream ciphers, which encrypt data bit by bit.
AES is comprised of AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256. The key bit you choose encrypts and decrypts blocks in 128 bits, 192 bits and so on. There are different rounds for each bit key. A round is a process of turning plaintext into cipher text. For 128-bit, there are 10 rounds; 192-bit has 12 rounds, and 256-bit has 14 rounds.
Since AES is symmetric key encryption, you must share the key with other individuals for them to access the encrypted data. Furthermore, if you don’t have a secure way to share that key and unauthorized individuals gain access to it, they can decrypt everything encrypted with that specific key.
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