Understanding Hashing in Cryptography
24 Mar, 2023
Computer safety is a sophisticated system of different mechanisms. One of them that provides integrity and security of information is known as hashing. Sometimes people mistake it for encryption. However, they are not identical. Due to the mathematical algorithm, usual text is transformed to a unique string or becomes ciphered. For instance, instead of your surname, you can get a string that will be unique. At the same time, your name will remain hidden. Let us find out the hashing definition in cryptography and more interesting detail about this algorithm.
What is hashing in cryptography?
How to define hashing in cryptography? This technique was developed for the preparation of a cipher based on any text information. Thus, when you provide some input, you get the corresponding output. The tiniest change in the input immediately changes the result. Therefore, hashing algorithm in cryptography converts a usual text into its secure version. This process is done swiftly and efficiently. However, there is no chance to reverse it. Here lies the main difference of this technique and encryption. The latter is reversible, so you can encrypt something and then decrypt it back via a special key. As for hashing, there is no such chance. When this algorithm works, it takes the password and creates some cipher from random letters and numbers. When the user inputs this password for authentication, the system matches it to the hash. If the input corresponds to the output, everything is good, and the user can log in. Let us consider an example with a bank:
- Imagine that you have created a new password.
- It will not be saved by the bank. Instead, it will be put into an algorithm with the formation of a unique result that will be saved.
- After an attempt to log in, the system will compare the data.
- The authorization occurs only in case of full matching.
Therefore, due to this technique, people can authorize data without being aware of their content. That is why this algorithm is extremely popular for storing passwords. This approach contributes to security and users can truly rely on the web resources that utilize it. It is especially valuable for different financial and banking institutions. In addition, a cryptocurrency exchange, that as Exolix uses this approach, secures the transactions and personal data of clients. Moreover, this technique serves as a solid barrier for attackers. If they try to access the database with passwords and succeed in it, they will see only the hashes. Still, it is completely impossible to reverse them back to the passwords of users. Altogether, this technique was developed and introduced to achieve the following aims:
- Verification of data;
- Proper authentication of users;
- Secure storage of sensitive data.
Features of the tool
According to the hashing in cryptography definition, this technique transforms information of any given size into an output with a fixed size. The latter is a cipher that is also known as a hash value. The main purpose of this process is to verify information. As we have already mentioned this tool is especially valuable for passwords. Any safe database utilizes it to guarantee the security of this information. Thus, every time the user logs in, the combination is hashed and compared with the saved version. Only if everything matches, the procedure will be completed. Therefore, the main purpose is this specific comparison. This algorithm has the following properties:
- Determinism. The output always corresponds the given input;
- Irreversibility. One cannot get back an original password from its hash;
- Resistance to repetition. Two different inputs cannot give the same output;
- Non-predictability. The generation process is fully random and no one is able to predict its results;
- Contraction. The output is always smaller than the input you choose.
As for the useful features, the main list includes:
- Security. This function has only one way and cannot be reversed by any means;
- Uniqueness. There is no way to get the same result from two different inputs;
- Convenient size. The created hash value will have the size that is characteristic of it not for the given data.
Types of hashing in cryptography and their utilization
Hashing algorithms differ in their output. For example, message digest 5 creates a 128-bit string value, for secure hashing algorithm 1 it is 160-bit, and SHA256 has a 256-bit value. As for the main areas of hash utilization, they include the following categories.
Storage of passwords
If the passwords are stored as text, any attacker can find them and use them. However, hash utilization hides this information. Even when an intruder enters the database, he observes only hash values that are of no use.
This tool serves as a basis for an authorization procedure. Every time you type in the password to log in, the system makes a comparison with a hash value. If it corresponds, the procedure is successfully completed.
Working with information
It assures us of the originality and correctness of data. When it works properly, it provides a high level of security for all users. Altogether, as a security measure hashing is very useful and popular. It is used when you swap or convert crypto, log in to your account, and all the reliable web resources provide this function to save sensitive data of their clients. It contributes to the safety as a whole and gives confidence in the security of your actions.