Security Encyclopedia


A byte is the smallest unit of memory used in today’s computing. 

Bytes consist of eight bits, and a byte is used to encode a single number, letter, or symbol. Bytes’ use as such is a de facto international convention documented as ISO/IEC 2382-1:1993 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

On background, in computing, bits are the most basic unit logical expression. Historically, eight bits comprised a byte, which in turn is the smallest addressable unit of information or memory. This is now today’s convention following some uses of other bit lengths (e.g. six, nine) that failed to gain traction in the 1960s.


“8 bits make a byte, 1024 bytes a kilobyte, and 1024 kilobytes a megabyte.”