A cryptographic A hash is a function that converts an input (or 'message') into a fixed-length string of bytes, which typically appears random. The output, often referred to as the hash value or hash code, is unique (ideally) to the given input. Even a small change in the input will produce a significantly different output. Key Characteristics: • Deterministic: For a given... More function is a mathematical algorithm that takes an input (or “message”) and returns a fixed-size string of bytes, typically a digest that is unique to each unique input. It is designed to be a one-way function, meaning that once data has been turned into a hash, it cannot be converted back to its original form.
- Deterministic: For a given input, the output (hash) will always be the same.
- Fast to Compute: For any given data, it should be quick to compute the hash value.
- Irreversible: It’s computationally infeasible to regenerate the original input value given the hash output.
- Collision-Resistant: Two different inputs should not produce the same output.
- Avalanche Effect: A small change in the input should produce such a drastic change in output that the new hash is unrecognizable from the original.
- Data Integrity: To verify the integrity of data during transmission.
- Password Storage: Storing the hash of a password rather than the password itself.
- Digital Signatures: To verify the authenticity and integrity of a message or document.
- Cryptocurrencies: Used in A blockchain is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger used to record transactions across multiple computers in a way that ensures the data can only be modified once it has been recorded. Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain, it becomes extremely difficult to change it without altering all subsequent blocks, which requires consensus from the majority... More technology to link blocks together.
Popular Cryptographic Hash Functions:
- SHA-256 (Secure Hash Algorithm 256-bit): Widely used and forms the basis of the Bitcoin blockchain.
- MD5 (Message Digest Algorithm 5): Older and found to have vulnerabilities.
- SHA-1: Previously widely used but now considered vulnerable to well-funded attackers.
- SHA-3: The latest member of the Secure Hash Algorithm family, released by NIST in 2015.
- Security: Provides a secure way to verify data integrity and authenticity.
- Efficiency: Quick to compute, ensuring systems run efficiently.
- Fixed Size: No matter the size of the input, the hash value size remains consistent.
- Vulnerabilities: Some older hash functions, like MD5 and SHA-1, have vulnerabilities that have been exploited.
- Collision: While hash functions are designed to be collision-resistant, it’s not impossible for two different inputs to produce the same output.