Many companies mention military-quality coding & # 39; to protect your data. If it's good enough for the army, it must be the best ̵
Basic principles of coding
Let's start with the basics. Encryption is essentially a way to collect and confuse information, so it looks like a mess. You can then decrypt that encrypted information, but only if you know how. The method of encryption and decryption is known as a "encryption" and it usually relies on a piece of information called a "key."
For example, when you visit a website that is encrypted with HTTPS and you log in with a password or enter a credit card number, so that private data is sent over the internet in encrypted (encrypted) form. Only your computer and the website with which you communicate can understand this, preventing people from monitoring your password or credit card number. When you connect for the first time, your browser and website perform a "handshake" and exchange secrets used for encrypting and decrypting the data.
There are many different coding algorithms. Some are safer and harder to crack than others.
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Rebranding Standard Encryption
Whether you log in to your online banking, use a virtual private network (VPN), encrypt the files on your hard drive or store your passwords in a safe vault, you clearly want stronger encryption that is harder to crack.
To keep you comfortable and generally healthy as safe as possible, many services mention & # 39; military encryption & # 39; on their websites and in advertisements.
It sounds strong and proven, but the army doesn't actually define something like & # 39; military encryption & # 39 ;. That is a sentence devised by marketing people. By advertising coding as "of military quality", companies only say that "the army uses it for some things."
What does "military-quality coding" mean?
Dashlane, a password manager who has advertised for his "military encryption", explains what this term means on his blog. According to Dashlane, military-grade coding means AES-256 coding. That is the Advanced Encryption Standard with a 256-bit key size.
As Dashlane & # 39; s blog indicates, AES-256 is "the first publicly accessible and open number approved by the National Security Agency (NSA) to protect information at a" Top Secret "level". AES-256 differs from AES-128 and AES-192 by a larger key size. That means a little more processing power used to perform the coding and decoding, but all that extra work should make AES-256 even harder to crack.
Bank-level coding is the same
"Bank-level coding" is another term that is widely used in marketing. It is actually the same: AES-256 or maybe AES-128, because most banks use it. Some banks even advertise with their "military-quality coding."
This is good coding for widespread use. It is often considered the best, safest option. Timothy Quinn writes that both "military-quality coding" and "bank-quality coding" should simply be called "industry-standard coding".
AES-256 is good, but AES-128 is also good,
AES -256 has been taken over by many services and software on a large scale. In fact, you probably always use this "military-quality coding". You just don't know, because most services don't even call it "military coding."
Modern web browsers, for example, support AES-256 when communicating with secure HTTPS websites. We use here & # 39; loosely & # 39; very loose – even Internet Explorer got AES-256 support with Internet Explorer 8 for Windows Vista. Chrome, Firefox and Safari naturally also support this. You probably connect to all kinds of websites that use "military coding" without knowing it.
The built-in BitLocker encryption on Windows uses AES-128 by default, but can be configured to use AES-256. It is not of "military quality" by default, but AES-128 must still be very safe and resistant to attack – and it can be of military quality.
Password management 1Password made the switch back to AES-256 from AES-128 in 2013. Jeffrey Goldberg from 1Password explained the reason for the company at the time. He argued that AES-128 was just as secure in principle, but many people felt safer with that larger and larger number and that "military encryption".
Ultimately, whether you have AES-256, AES-128 or AES-192, you have a reasonably secure encryption. One can be of "military quality" – usually an invented term – but that doesn't mean much.
RELATED: How to use BitLocker 256-bit AES encryption instead of 128-bit AES
Encryption as ammunition
There is another interesting point here. If you are wondering why encryption got so entangled with the army, you should know that it is less entangled with the army than ever.
Cryptography has long been an important part of warfare. It is a way in which a soldier can send messages safely without his enemies intercepting the messages. Even if the enemy intercepts the message, it must decrypt the message, so it is actually useful. The ancient Romans used figures two thousand years ago under Julius Caesar. In World War II, Nazi Germany used the Enigma machine to encrypt its messages. This was famously cracked by Brit and his allies, who used the information from those encrypted messages to help win the war.
It will therefore come as no surprise that many governments have regulated cryptography – especially exports to other countries. Until 1992, cryptography was on the American ammunition list as an "aid to military equipment". You can create and own coding technologies in the US, but not export them to other countries. The Netscape web browser once had two different versions: a domestic American edition with 128-bit coding and an "international" version with 40-bit coding, the maximum allowed.
Regulations were eased towards the end of the 90s and there are no longer strict restrictions on the export of coding technologies from the US, assuming that you do not export them to a terrorist organization or rogue state. Cryptography is no longer classified as an & # 39; ammunition & # 39 ;.
Encryption has long been associated with the military, so it is no surprise that the term & # 39; military-quality encryption & # 39; really seems to speak to people. That may be a reason why marketing campaigns continue to use it.