Cryptographic Hash Function is a technical concept that might be difficult to comprehend. If you are not at all familiar with it, check out our guide on ‘What Is Cryptographic Hash Function?’
A cryptographic hash function is an algorithm which helps verify the authenticity of data. It provides a value which can either be a password or an individual file. These values are unique and exclusive to each file. So the data that is entered, gives an output of a fixed size, no matter the length of the data. This output is called several names like ‘hash value’, ‘message digest’, ‘digital fingerprint’, ‘digest’ or ‘checksum’.
The cryptographic hash functions have several uses, which we will highlight in this article. Cryptographic hash functions are most notably used to verify and authenticate data. Few of the popular ones are MD5 and SHA-1. You can also check out the various other widely used cryptographic algorithms.
These are some of its most popular use case:
Verify digital signature: A digital signature is the equivalent of a handwritten signature, but offers far greater security. To create a digital signature, the private key of the party is used to encrypt the hash. The encrypted hash — along with other information, such as the hashing algorithm — is the digital signature. The signature is authenticated only if the two hashes match on the side of sender and receiver.
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Detecting Data Integrity: For those not familiar with data integrity, it is a term used in computer science and telecommunications that means ensuring whether or not the data is “whole” or complete. It oversees how data is maintained during any operation (such as transfer, storage or retrieval). Cryptographic hash functions are indispensable in this sector as they make it possible for developers to check for data integrity.
Used in Information Security Applications: Cryptographic hash functions are extremely handy when it comes to ensuring informtaion security. Since the hash message generated is unique, it ensures that the application is not vulnerable to outside attacks and is not compromised.