Using Hashes to Protect Data

Hashes are at the core of most real-world encryption algorithms and solutions. A hash is a one-way encryption algorithm that takes a variable-length string and uses a mathematical formula to reduce that string to a fixed-length hash. For a formula to qualify as a hashing algorithm, the formula must be able to guarantee that it is mathematically impossible for two different strings to ever produce the same hash value, no matter how similar they are. It also must be computationally impossible to write an algorithm that can determine the original message based on the digest (hash value). There are several different kinds of hashing algorithms. The MD (Message Digest) series of algorithms (MD2, MD4, MD5) all produce hashes ...

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