Hash Function: Overview, How it works, examples

hash function

What is a hash function? How does it work? Let’s will start by providing an overview of what hash functions are and what they are used for.

What is a Hash Function?

Hash functions are in crypto an essential tool in ensuring the secure transmission of data. In essence, it takes any kind of input and produces a unique “hash” using an algorithm that is both deterministic and invisible. The hash value generated is typically much small in size than the data itself, making it faster and more cost-effective to both store and transmit this smaller piece of information. 

How does a hash Function work?

A cryptographic hash function is like a mathematical algorithm that takes in an arbitrary amount of data and returns a fixed-length output, usually in the form of a string of numbers and letters. This unique output is generated by running the data through sophisticated encryption processes that scramble the bits in the text to produce something that can be compared to other sources. The algorithm is designed in such a way that it is impossible to reconstruct the original text from the encrypted output. 

Hash Functions in Cryptography

Hash functions in cryptography are powerful tools that provide an essential link in the chain of cryptographic security. Essentially, a hash function in cryptography is an algorithm used to convert data in a file or a string of characters into a smaller fixed-length representation that can be used to identify the original source data. This is done by taking all the data in a file and running it through the function itself.


In crypto, the outcome of this process is known as a ‘hash’ which is difficult to reverse engineer, i.e. you cannot determine what the original user input was from its corresponding hash. This makes these hash functions in crypto extremely useful when it comes to verifying legitimacy in systems such as blockchain technology or in protecting user credentials on websites with TLS/SSL protocol implementations.

Examples of common crypto hash functions

Common examples in cryptography include the MD5 algorithm, SHA-1 algorithm, SHA-2 algorithm, and SHA-3 algorithm. The last two are related in that they focus on generating longer hashes to prevent brute-force cracking. 

Bitcoin the most popular cryptocurrency, uses the SHA-256 cryptography hash function in its algorithm.

Hash vs. Encryption

Hash and encryption are two key components in cryptographic algorithms.

Hash functions transform an initial input into an output that is of fixed length, often referred to as a digest. This digest is useful in verifying that the initial input has not been altered in transit. 

Meanwhile, encryption is a method of transforming data to maintain its confidentiality in transmissions between systems and users.

Although both hash and encryption are necessary tools in cryptography, they have very different uses cases and goals which should not be confused when evaluating the security of a system.

Why do we need Hash Function?

1. Standard Length

Hash functions take a message of any size as input, and output a fixed-size string. This is done in a deterministic fashion to return the same ‘hash value’ each time it is fed the same input. The hashed values are also useful in a digital signature generation to ensure that data hasn’t been modified in transit or tampered with by third parties. When we need to store passwords securely in databases, we rely on hash functions to do so properly without compromising them in any way when people around the globe buy or sell cryptocurrency. 

2. Ensure data integrity

Cryptography requires a secure means of encoding data to avoid any malicious manipulation. By using these functions in a cryptographic process, information can be stored in an encrypted form and its integrity checked when the data is retrieved to guarantee that it has not been tampered with in any way.

Data integration

In essence, hashing provides security and reliability when it comes to communicating data effectively and safely over different systems.

Types of Hashing

1. Division Hash

Division hash is a use of hashing in cryptography. It is one of the most popular and commonly used methods to produce data hashes due to its effectiveness, fast processing speed, and low cost. A key is used for the division hashing method to divide an incoming message into sections; then, each section undergoes a sequence of operations that use mathematical equations with the key components before being combined. This process makes it difficult for malicious activities such as data interception and tampering, which is crucial for individuals looking to sell USDT in Dubai, as it would require knowing some highly sensitive information about the key itself.

2. Knuth Variant or Division Hash

The Knuth variant of hashing is particularly useful in encryption and cryptography, as it can create digital fingerprints of encrypted messages. This makes it much easier to compare the original unencrypted message with the resulting encrypted one. It also means that only a single algorithm needs to be used across many different files. 

3. Multiplication Hashing

In Multiplication Hashing, two numbers are multiplied together to form a new number. This created number serves as an output which is then inputted through the cryptographic algorithm to create a one-way encryption solution that is incredibly difficult to recreate and decrypt. Multiplying two numbers reduces the risk of collusion between attackers who use dictionary or brute force attacks in an attempt to gain access to encrypted or confidential data.

4. Universal Hashing

Universal hashing is a powerful type of hashing that uses randomization to create a one-way mapping between the data and its hashed output. It is used in cryptography, where it is important that the same message yield different results each time it is hashed so that an adversary can’t use the same information to their advantage. The use of universal hashing makes this possible, creating a system with a low probability of collisions and a high probability of unpredictability. 

5. Perfect Hashing

Perfect hashing is an advanced type of data hashing that has been used for cryptographic security. In this method, a unique one-to-one mapping is created between the hash key and the value. This makes perfect hashing immutable and ensures that there are no collisions when the data is being hashed; each input yields its distinct output. This use of perfect hashing means that any manipulation of the underlying information becomes instantly detectable and secure.

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