Backing up files with 128-bit or 256-bit encryption?
Have you chosen the right encryption?
Important data should be backed up regularly. To prevent unauthorized access, it is also suitable to use encryption for backups. But what quality should it be? The most common, and also available in Langmeier Backup, are keys with 128 bit and 256 bit.
Encryption with 128 bit – still secure and practically universally usable
Encryption keys with 128 bits are currently considered secure. Hackers who try to crack such a key by trying all possible keys - experts speak in this context of the brute force methodology – face 2 to the power of 128 possibilities. This is a number with no less than 39 digits. With most hardware in use today, 128-bit encryption can be accomplished in a relatively short time.
Encryption with 256 bits – higher security, but performant hardware needed
Are 256-bit encryption keys for data backup necessary and useful at all then? Finally, such encryption requires more powerful hardware and more time. There are an unbelievable 2 to the power of 256 possibilities for the correct key, whereby it must be considered that 2 to the power of 129 is already twice as large a number as 2 to the power of 128. The fact is that computers are getting faster and more powerful. Therefore, an encryption key that was secure yesterday may be crackable tomorrow. That's why secret services – such as the US National Security Agency – insist that top-secret documents be encoded with 256-bit keys rather than 128-bit keys. One reason for this is probably the concept of computers, whose mode of operation is based on the laws of quantum mechanics. These are – put simply – able to approach a key with 256 bits as if it were only a key with 128 bits. Accordingly, an encryption key with 128 bits would only have the strength of a key with 64 bits. But keys with 64 bits can already be cracked today. It seems only a matter of time before powerful quantum computers are available.
If the secrecy of the data is not a high priority and sufficiently performant hardware is not available, an encryption with 128 bits should currently still be sufficient. However, if you want to be on the safe side or encode explosive data, you should choose 256-bit encryption in Langmeier Backup.
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Security 128-bit encryption