128-bit Encryption

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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128-bit encryption is the most secure protocol available. It is generally used by sites that deal with the exchange of sensitive data. For instance, all sites that offer online financial transactions should utilize no less than 128-bit encryption. In addition, sites that store and exchange user's significant personal or financial information are also expected to maintain the 128-bit level of security.

128-bit encryption provides the strongest measure of online security, and is currently impossible to crack. With 128-bit encryption there are so many possible key combinations that it would take decades for even the fastest computers to calculate and attempt to match each one. While this is the strongest encryption protocol, it had occasionally been difficult to implement.

Solutions to 128-bit Encryption Restrictions

Due to U.S. restrictions, American produced web browsers intended for international export were prevented from enabling the strongest online security features. This included the use of 128-bit encryption, and 40-bit encryption became the standard for these international browsers. However, many international browsers were also widely distributed in the U.S., so a lack of 128-bit encryption options became a domestic problem as well.

In addition, most computers running the Windows 2000 operating system are unable to utilize 128-bit encryption, despite which browser they choose. SuperCerts are a type of digital certificate that act as a solution to this problem. When a SuperCert is installed, 128-bit encryption is enabled regardless of existing browser or software restrictions.

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