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I have had to edit this question because it was too broad (sorry didn't realise that was not allowed...), so, lets go with:

Is AES256 the most secure encryption algorithm available at the moment? If not what would be a more suitable alternative?

It would be great to see a comparison table for various encryption algorithms if one exists. If the benefits are comparable.

Not sure why I'm being down voted so bad, thought I asked a reasonable question? 🙁

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Looking at TLS is a good start, there's different problems solved by different algorithms. These are considered secure enough, the brute forcing of large enough keys becomes impracticable this answer has the whole "how strong in terms of millions of years" answer.

For protection against quantum attacks this answer is a good overview, for example the theory right now is for symmetric encryption you just double the key size and your are good to go. Quantum computers can be a concern in the future, but the biggest number arguably factorized so far is 16 bits, until they can do the x bits used in an RSA implementation there isn't much worry.

Of course if you want the most secure you should use a key as big as the message (a one time pad), as this provides perfect secrecy in a method that is simple to implement and understand. This has been known since at least the 1940s.

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  • $\begingroup$ Surely the one time pad crushes all before it? Mathematically proven security and quantum resistance. Yes it's malleable, but there is not a single example of such an attack being used in real intelligence work over the last century. Can you find one? And it's dead simple whereas TLS/ RSA is dead hard. $\endgroup$ – Paul Uszak Nov 10 '17 at 11:13
  • $\begingroup$ Yea but if i mention OTP I will get 1 upvote from your and 5 downvotes from NSA shills. $\endgroup$ – daniel Nov 10 '17 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ Courage Daniel, courage :-) But I totally agree. I'd answer but already there are 2 close votes. $\endgroup$ – Paul Uszak Nov 10 '17 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ @daniel Related to your …and 5 downvotes from NSA shills, please see our related Meta Q&A if you haven’t already seen it. $\endgroup$ – e-sushi Nov 11 '17 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the insight, I didn't realise I wasn't allowed to ask a broad question. -4 is god damn awful! Maybe the Meta Q&A suggests why, but, I think it's probs more likely that the stackexchange mods don't like the question as it's too "broad". $\endgroup$ – joe Dec 6 '17 at 16:48

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