Data Encryption Standard – Definition

Cite this article as:"Data Encryption Standard – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated November 23, 2018, last accessed July 11, 2020,


Data Encryption Standard Definition

Data Encryption Standard is an early data encryption method containing the symmetric key algorithm for encrypting electronic data. It is an insecure and outdated method of data encryption which uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt a message. It was developed in the early 1970s and has a great influence on developing modern cryptography.

A Little More on What is Data Encryption Standards

In 1973, the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standard and Technology) issued a notice inviting proposals for a crypto algorithm that can be considered to be the data encryption standard. No viable proposals were received at the first attempt. In 1974, National Bureau of Standards issued a second notice inviting the same and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) came up with Lucifer algorithm. National Bureau of Standards and U.S. National Security Agency reviewed the algorithm and made some modification in consultation with IBM. Then it was endorsed as the Data Encryption Standard.

In the following years, it became mandatory to use the DES algorithm for all electronic financial transactions of the U.S. government. All the nations started using DES as the standards organizations adopted it worldwide and it became the international standard for business and commercial data encryption.

DES is a block cipher, here a cryptographic key and algorithm are applied to a block of data simultaneously and not one bit at a time. DES groups a text into 64-bit blocks. A secret key enciphers each block into 64-bit ciphertext by transposition and substitution. It involves 16 iterations and can run in four different modes. The key controlling the transformation consists of 64 bits, the user can choose only 56 of those. These 56 are actually the key bits, the remaining are parity check bits. Decryption is the inversion of the encryption, following the steps in reverse order.

In the beginning of 21st century, the DES was replaced by a more secure encryption standard named Advanced Encryption Standards.

References for Data Encryption Standard

Academic Research for Data Encryption

Special feature exhaustive cryptanalysis of the NBS data encryption standard, Diffie, W., & Hellman, M. E. (1977). Computer10(6), 74-84. This paper shows the importamce of cryptography as a valuable asset of the military and diplomatic communities. It goes on to analyse the special features of this tool.

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) and its strength against attacks, Coppersmith, D. (1994). IBM journal of research and development38(3), 243-250. The Data Encryption Standard (DES) was developed by an IBM team around 1974 and adopted as a national standard in 1977. Since that time, many cryptanalysts have attempted to find shortcuts for breaking the system. In this paper, the authors examine one such attempt, the method of differential cryptanalysis, published by Biham and Shamir.

The first experimental cryptanalysis of the Data Encryption Standard, Matsui, M. (1994, August). In Annual International Cryptology Conference (pp. 1-11). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. This paper describes an improved version of linear cryptanalysis and its application to the first successful computer experiment in breaking the full 16-round DES.

Scan based side channel attack on dedicated hardware implementations of data encryption standard, Yang, B., Wu, K., & Karri, R. (2004, October). In Test Conference, 2004. Proceedings. ITC 2004. International (pp. 339-344). IEEE. This paper decsribes the scan based test as a double edged sword. On one hand, it is a powerful test technique. On the other hand, it is an equally powerful attack tool. The paper shows that scan chains can be used as a side channel to recover secret keys from a hardware implementation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES).

A cryptographic key management scheme for implementing the Data Encryption Standard, Ehrsam, W. F., Matyas, S. M., Meyer, C. H., & Tuchman, W. L. (1978). IBM Systems Journal17(2), 106-125. In this paper, a key management protocol is described that will allow the Data Encryption Standard (DES) to be integrated into electronic data processing systems for the purpose of obtaining communication security and file security. Several cryptographic keys have also been defined that allow the desired key management protocol to be achieved.

Data encryption standard: past and future, Smid, M. E., & Branstad, D. K. (1988).. Proceedings of the IEEE76(5), 550-559. In this paper, the authors examine the past and future of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), which is the first, and to the present date, only, publicly available cryptographic algorithm that has been endorsed by the US government of the standard during the early 1970s, the controversy regarding the proposed standard during the mid-1970s, the growing acceptance and use of the standard in the 1980s, and some recent developments that could affect its future.

The data encryption standard in perspective, Davis, R. (1978).  IEEE Communications Society Magazine16(6), 5-9. The Data Encryption Standard (DES) was approved as a Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) by the Secretary of Commerce on November 23, 1976. This paper places this standard in perspective with other computer security measures that can and should be applied to Federal computer systems either before or coincident to using the Data Encryption Standard. This paper outlines the environment surrounding and the history of the Data Encryption Standard and discusses the objectives of additional standards to be developed within the computer security program.

On applying molecular computation to the data encryption standard, Adleman, L. M., Rothemund, P. W., Roweis, S., & Winfree, E. (1999). Journal of Computational Biology6(1), 53-63. Recently, Boneh, Dunworth, and Lipton (1996) described the potential use of molecular computation in attacking the United States Data Encryption Standard (DES). This paper provides a description of such an attack using the sticker model of molecular computation. The analysis suggests that such an attack might be mounted on a tabletop machine using approximately a gram of DNA and might succeed even in the presence of a large number of errors.

Algebraic cryptanalysis of the data encryption standard, Courtois, N. T., & Bard, G. V. (2007, December). In IMA International Conference on Cryptography and Coding (pp. 152-169). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Image encryption for secure internet multimedia applications, Dang, P. P., & Chau, P. M. (2000, June).  In Consumer Electronics, 2000. ICCE. 2000 Digest of Technical Papers. International Conference on (pp. 6-7). IEEE. This paper presents a novel scheme, which combines the discrete wavelet transform (DWT) for image compression and block cipher Data Encryption Standard (DES) for image encryption. The simulation results indicate that the proposed method enhances the security for image transmission over the Internet as well as improves the transmission rate.

Comparison of data encryption algorithms, Singh, S. P., & Maini, R. (2011). International Journal of Computer Science and Communication2(1), 125-127. This paper examines a method for analyzing trade-off between efficiency and security in a secure WiFi (sWiFi). A comparison has been conducted for those encryption algorithms at different settings for each algorithm such as different sizes of data blocks, different platforms and different encryption/decryption speed. The experimental evaluation shows that the sWiFi algorithm could provide an extra level of wireless security with relatively higher performance compared with other existing algorithms for e-content delivery applications over different zones of a wireless network.

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