USMA Research Unit Affiliation

Cyber Research Center, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Date of Award


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Computer Science


The advanced encryption standard (AES) is the premier symmetric key cryptosystem in use today. Given its prevalence, the security provided by AES is of utmost importance. Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, in both capability and popularity, much faster than its rate of advancement in the late 1990s when AES was selected as the replacement standard for DES. Although the literature surrounding AES is robust, most studies fall into either theoretical or practical yet infeasible. This research takes the unique approach drawn from the performance field and dual nature of AES performance. It uses benchmarks to assess the performance potential of computer systems for both general purpose and AES. Since general performance information is readily available, the ratio may be used as a predictor for AES performance and consequently attack potential. The design involved distributing USB drives to facilitators containing a bootable Linux operating system and the benchmark instruments. Upon boot, these devices conducted the benchmarks, gathered system specifications, and submitted them to a server for regression analysis. Although it is likely to be many years in the future, the results of this study may help better predict when attacks against AES key lengths will become feasible.


Colorado Technical University


Degree Awarded: Doctor of Computer Science in Digital Systems Security