In cryptography, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is an encryption standard adopted by the U.S. Government. The standard comprises three block ciphers, AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256, adopted from a larger collection originally published as Rijndael. Each AES cipher has a 128-bit block size, with key sizes of 128, 192 and 256 bits, respectively. The AES ciphers have been analyzed extensively and are now used worldwide, as was the case with its predecessor, the Data Encryption Standard (DES).
AES was announced by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as U.S. FIPS PUB 197 (FIPS 197) on November 26, 2001 after a 5-year standardization process. Fifteen competing designs were presented and evaluated before Rijndael was selected as the most suitable. It became effective as a standard May 26, 2002. It is available in many different encryption packages. AES is the first publicly accessible and open cipher approved by the NSA for top secret information (see the Security section in the Wikipedia article on AES).
The Rijndael cipher was developed by two Belgian cryptographers, Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen, and submitted by them to the AES selection process. Rijndael is a portmanteau of the names of the two inventors.