128-Bit SSL Encryption Vs 256-Bit SSL Encryption – What is The Difference?

If you are looking for SSL certificate, it will be your primary requirement to know about the bit and encryption process. You must know which 128-Bit SSL Encryption Vs 256-Bit SSL Encryption level is best for you. In this topic, you will get more information about different levels of SSL encryption.

How Encryption Works?

Encryption is a process of converting plain text into an unreadable form, which is called ‘cipher text’. Encryption saves the data traveling between the server and the browser or stored on a PC from prying eyes. Upon receiving the message by the recipient, the message is converted into readable format. Both sender and receiver share a single encryption key that encodes and decodes the data during the conversation. The stronger the encryption, the harder it to break it. Complex algorithms along with computer algorithms that put bits of data in digital signals.

In encryption, the asymmetric and asymmetric key is used to encode and decode the data. In Symmetric encryption, a single key is used to encode and decode the data while in asymmetric key, one key is used to encrypt the details while the other key is used to decrypt the data. In asymmetric encryption, the private key which is used to decrypt the data should not be shared with everyone but stored on the server.

Now after taking an overview of encryption let us focus on the current encryption standard called AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) on which the current encryption works.

AES (Advance Encryption Standard):

AES is a block cipher algorithm utilized as an encryption standard and was announced by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) at the USA. AES is one of the most famous cryptography that is used all over the world. AES generally is used in symmetric key cryptography (both sender and receiver use the same key). AES is fast and easy to implement and requires less memory than DES. AES is based on the Rijndael cipher which was developed by Belgian cryptographers, Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen whose proposal was accepted by NIST later on. AES works on fixed block size like 128-bit, 192-bit and 256-bit encryption. The reason behind implementing a stronger encryption key was started after the Brute force attack which came in 2006 that has made the 56-bit RC5 key vulnerable.

128 Bit vs 256 Bit Encryption: Which is Better?

While discussing 128-bit vs 256-bit encryption, you need to consider Brute Force Attack Protection. A Brute Force Attack is a method to try each potential password to get the right combination of passwords. This attack requires strong encryption as it can break weak encryption easily. With the rise in quantum computers and cyber-attack techniques, the NIST recommended a strong key over 128-bit encryption. A 256-bit key is much strong than 128-bit encryption. When you use a stronger key, it is hard to break for an attacker. As a result, a brute force attack seems much harder against 256-bit encryption.

Each encryption key applies certain rounds along with a set of operations. AES-128 takes 10 rounds where AES-256 takes 14 rounds. However, AES-128 is a secure, efficient, and fast one while AES-256 is resilient against brute force attack. However, both algorithms are secured, and you can choose anyone as well does not make difference from a security point of view. AES 256-bit is an advanced key that has a large key size and resilient against brute force attack. Certificate authorities now have started to adopt AES 256 for strong security.

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Need for Encryption:

Below are some situations in which you need a strong encryption.

  • You need a strong encryption in case of using a credit card, debit card or any online payment.
  • You need a strong encryption when you access banking or brokerage account information through the network.
  • You need a strong encryption when you transfer health or insurance reports electronically.

In above cases we can say that privacy and integrity of information is necessary and if any person would interrupt at the time of data transition, then the information will be at risk. In this case, a strong encryption is necessary that can provide a secure environment for your confidential information.

Why choose 256-bit encryption?

After understanding the importance of encryption now we will discover the most appropriate encryption key for eCommerce  The most used keys are 128-bit and 256-bit all over the world. So here a difference is given that why 256-bit is stronger than 128-bit encryption key.

Key Size Time to Crack
56-bit 399 Seconds
128-bit 1.02 x 1018 years
192-bit 1.872 x 1037 years
256-bit 3.31 x 1056 years
  • With the changing time security should have stronger encryption to secure from online attacks. Hackers are continuous involving in breaking weak or old encryption.
  • 256-bit encryption is much stronger than 128-bit. 256-bit encryption delivers a higher level of protection. As technology moves ahead, it is expected that at some point the industry standard will have to shift to 256-bit encryption for secure sockets layer protection.
  • Most certificate authorities who provide SSL security have shifted their security from 128-bit to 256-bit encryption for their customer’s interest. The stronger you apply encryption strength the more your data will be safe.
  • A bigger key always holds a better chance of remaining secure. Using AES with 256 bit keys enhances the number of AES rounds that need to be done for each data block such as it takes 10 rounds for 128-bit and 14 rounds for 256-bit encryption.
  • It adds an extra layer of security for users. Username and password will be safe with 256-bit encryption. The speed issue for ISP will be solved with 256-bit encryption.
  • From the above image if you can verify a trillion (10^12) keys per second it would take ~10^18 years before you’ve verified most of the keys. And a 256-bit key would be 2^128 times stronger to brute-force that takes 10^56 years.
  • From the point of view RSA key and if you observe the above graph the longer the RSA key, the higher time it will take to decrypt. Recently 2048-bit RSA key supports 256-bit encryption so it will be beneficial to have 256-bit encryption and 2048-bit RSA key.

As we have seen that 256-bit encryption is strongest in the case of crack time, encryption, RSA key support and outlook of the certificate authority. The Even cryptography formula becomes weaker over time that reduces the level of security. Therefore, it is advisable to add a security layer timely.

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