Study Finds $250B Economic Benefit from NIST Encryption Standard

encryption standardThe NIST advanced encryption standard (AES) has had at least a $250 billion global economic impact over the past 20 years, a new report concluded.

AES uses a cryptographic algorithm that was approved for federal government use in 2001. It has since been widely adopted by private industry.

As a result, AES protects everything from classified data and bank transactions to online shopping and social media apps.

For the report, RM Advisory Services relied on a survey of encryption users and developers of encryption hardware or software.

Search for New Encryption Standard

In 1997, NIST launched its effort to identify a new standard encryption algorithm for the federal government. It recognized that the 20-year-old Data Encryption Standard (DES) was growing vulnerable in the face of advances in cryptanalysis and computing power.

Following an open international competition, in 2000 NIST announced its proposal for the replacement standard. Rijndael, an algorithm that was submitted by two cryptographers from Belgium, Vincent Rijmen and Joan Daemen, was selected.

The unclassified, publicly disclosed encryption algorithm used in the AES standard is available royalty free, worldwide. And it is used by the US government in its FIPS standard and voluntarily by private organizations worldwide.

The development process involved the collaboration of the worldwide cryptography community. The AES program continues to create economic value by transferring know-how into the network of communications and transactions.

“AES has been tremendously successful at helping to establish trust in IT systems around the world,” said NIST’s Charles Romine. “We are pleased with how it has stood the test of time in its ability to provide security in a wide range of commercial products and public and private systems.”