In 2001, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, set regulations regarding the encryption of data to protect it from different kinds of electronic attacks. The result was the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), also known as Rijndael, which is the world standard specification of data encryption. AES is a block cipher capable of handling 128 bit blocks — in layman’s terms, it’s very good at protecting information that needs to be kept out of the hands of hackers.
Because of its quick adoption by the government, it has become hugely popular in the business world as well. AES was designed, tested, and announced publicly, meaning that it’s much easier for businesspeople to trust than some other encryption software available on the market. This encryption works by running text through a secret key, known as a cipher, to produce cipher text, which looks like random strings of characters to anyone who doesn’t have access to the key. It’s a simple and very effective solution to the issue of data privacy.