What Is Data Encryption Standard (DES)?

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) is a symmetric encryption algorithm developed by IBM in the 1970s and adopted by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a federal standard in 1977. DES uses block cipher encryption with a fixed key length of 56 bits and a block size of 64 bits.

While DES was considered secure for many years, advances in computing power made it possible to break the encryption using brute force attacks. As a result, DES is no longer considered secure for protecting sensitive information. In response, NIST adopted the Triple DES (3DES) algorithm, which applies DES encryption three times with different keys, providing a higher level of security.

Today, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) has largely replaced DES and 3DES as the preferred symmetric encryption algorithm, offering greater security and faster performance. However, DES and 3DES are still used in some legacy systems and applications.