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The Economic Impacts of the Advanced Encryption Standard, 1996-2017



David P. Leech, Stacey Ferris, John T. Scott


Cryptography is a branch of applied mathematics concerned with developing complex algorithms for scrambling information ("plaintext") into an indecipherable version of that information ("ciphertext") and back to plaintext. The basics of cryptography as it applies to the AES algorithm are discussed in Section 2.1, Cryptography ABCs. In 1993, the Computer Security Division (CSD) of NIST's Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) decided that the current FIPS (FIPS-46-2, Data Encryption Standard, DES, adopted in 1977) was growing vulnerable in the face of advances in cryptanalysis and the exponential growth in computing power. This impact assessment covers the period from 1996-2017. In 1996, CSD began to plan seriously for the process that would replace DES with AES (FIPS-197), and the process for assuring conformance to AES as spelled out in the companion standard, the Cryptographic Algorithm Validation Program and the Cryptographic Module Validation Program (CAVP, CMVP, FIPS-140-2). That process—referred to in this document as the AES program—is the focus of this report.
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - 18-017
Report Number


Leech, D. , Ferris, S. and Scott, J. (2018), The Economic Impacts of the Advanced Encryption Standard, 1996-2017, Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created September 7, 2018, Updated November 10, 2018