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.


Encryption is a process of converting data into a form, named a ciphertext that cannot be simply understood by unauthorized individuals. Around 1990, the internet was used for commercial purposes, and eCommerce came into existence, and it became necessary to have a standard of encryption in eCommerce transactions.

Before the arrival of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), information was sent over the internet using the Data Encryption Standard (DES) which was invented in 1970 with 56-bit key size. DES can rapidly transmit massive data at high speed with a symmetric key cipher. When more users knew about the key they manipulate it and the question of security was raised. After DES, the use of public key became popular for encryption and then a hybrid of two key systems came into the presence. As well SSL came into force that led the way of online transactions.

Now the time is for a Wireless internet network that needs a further strong level of encryption. Since the inception of the internet and eCommerce the strength of encryption is continuously changing like 40-bit, 56-bit, 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit encryption. The reason behind to change encryption level is to provide great protection to users. The more you use strong encryption, the more your online information will remain safe. 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.

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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