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What is Hashing and How Does It Work in Cyber Security?

Hashing is an important tool in cyber security that helps protect data from malicious actors. It is a process of transforming data into a fixed-length code, known as a hash or message digest, which can be used to verify the integrity of the original data. In this article, we will explore what hashing is and how it works in cyber security, as well as some of the most popular hashing algorithms used today.

What is Hashing?

Hashing is the process of transforming any given key or a string of characters into another value. This is usually represented by a shorter, fixed-length output known as a hash. The hash is created using an algorithm, which is designed to be a one-way function, meaning that it is nearly impossible to reverse the process and get the original string back. A hash function takes an arbitrary message of arbitrary length and creates an output (a hash) of a fixed length. They can also be used as ordinary hash functions, to index data in hash tables, for fingerprinting, to detect duplicate data or uniquely identify files, and as checksums for detecting accidental data corruption.

Hashing is one of the practices that use an algorithm for mapping data of any random size to a fixed size, which is known as the hash value. It helps ensure secure communication between two parties by verifying that messages have not been tampered with during transmission.

How Does Hashing Work in Cyber Security?

Hashing is an important concept in cyber security as it allows for the safe encryption of data. When users log in, the password runs through a one-way hashing algorithm that converts the password into a different and unrecognizable string of characters. This process is known as salting, which adds an extra layer of security to the authentication process. Password hashing is used to verify the integrity of your password, sent during login, against the stored hash so that your actual password never needs to be transmitted over a network or stored on disk. Hashing is a one-way function where data is mapped to a fixed-length value and cannot be decrypted; however, hackers can use brute force attacks to guess passwords by comparing hashes with those from other databases.

Hashing provides an additional layer of security by making it harder for attackers to decrypt stored passwords if used correctly. It also ensures that any changes made to data are detected quickly since any change will result in a different hash value.

Popular Hashing Algorithms

Hashing algorithms are used to create a fixed-length value from an input value. The most popular hashing algorithms are MD5, SHA-1, and SHA-2. Each of these algorithms has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. MD5 is the fifth version of Message Digest algorithm which was widely used in the past but is now considered insecure due to its vulnerability to collisions. SHA-2 is a hash function that plays a critical role in much of our online security and consists of two different hash functions: SHA-224 and SHA-256. NTLM (NT LAN Manager) and LANMAN (LAN Manager) are also common hashing algorithms.

MD5 is known for its speed but it’s vulnerable to collisions which makes it an insecure choice for data encryption or authentication purposes. On the other hand, SHA family of hash functions have been designed with security as their primary focus making them more secure than MD5 but slower in terms of performance. The most commonly used members from this family are SHA-1 and SHA-2 which consist of two different hash functions:SHA-224 andSHA -256.

When choosing between these popular hashing algorithms, it’s important to consider both their strengths and weaknesses as well as your specific needs when deciding on which one will be best suited for your application.



Hashing is a powerful tool used to secure digital information. It is used in cyber security to protect data from unauthorized access and to authenticate users. Hashing is the process of transforming any given key or a string of characters into another value, usually represented by a shorter, fixed-length value. Cipher suites are collections of ciphers and algorithms that are used for SSL/TLS connections with SHA handling the hashing aspects. Hashing ensures hackers can’t steal data because the hashed inputs are difficult to reverse engineer, making it an important concept in cybersecurity.

Hashing algorithms are mathematical processes that are integral to cyber security and encryption-specific algorithms use hashing for improved cybersecurity. Popular hashing algorithms include MD5, SHA-1, SHA-2, and SHA-3 which all have their own strengths and weaknesses so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

In conclusion, hashing is an effective way of protecting digital information from unauthorized access as well as authenticating users. It works by transforming any given key or string of characters into another value using various cryptographic techniques such as cipher suites with SHA handling the hashing aspects.

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