## Hashing Algorithms

The first hash functions were created in the 1970s and have evolved rapidly since then. Many of the early hash functions have been "broken" or are no longer secure as methods have been discovered to essentially reverse these types of hashes. As the utility of a hash comes largely from the infeasibility of reverse it, using secure hashing algorithms is vital. Here, we'll review what purposes hashing functions can serve and walk through some more popular algorithms.

### Cryptographic Hash Algorithms

There are many cryptographic hash algorithms; this section lists a few algorithms that are referenced relatively often.

#### MD5

MD5 was designed by Ronald Rivest in 1991 to replace an earlier hash function, MD4, and was specified in 1992 as RFC 1321. Collisions against MD5 can be calculated within seconds which makes the algorithm unsuitable for most use cases where a cryptographic hash is required. MD5 produces a digest of 128 bits (16 bytes).

#### SHA-1

SHA-1 was developed as part of the U.S. Government's Capstone project. The original specification – now commonly called SHA-0 – of the algorithm was published in 1993 under the title Secure Hash Standard, FIPS PUB 180, by U.S. government standards agency NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). It was withdrawn by the NSA shortly after publication and was superseded by the revised version, published in 1995 in FIPS PUB 180-1 and commonly designated SHA-1. Collisions against the full SHA-1 algorithm can be produced using the shattered attack and the hash function should be considered broken. SHA-1 produces a hash digest of 160 bits (20 bytes).

Documents may refer to SHA-1 as just "SHA", even though this may conflict with the other Secure Hash Algorithms such as SHA-0, SHA-2, and SHA-3.

#### RIPEMD-160

RIPEMD (RACE Integrity Primitives Evaluation Message Digest) is a family of cryptographic hash functions developed in Leuven, Belgium, by Hans Dobbertin, Antoon Bosselaers, and Bart Preneel at the COSIC research group at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and first published in 1996. RIPEMD was based upon the design principles used in MD4 and is similar in performance to the more popular SHA-1. RIPEMD-160 has, however, not been broken. As the name implies, RIPEMD-160 produces a hash digest of 160 bits (20 bytes).

#### Whirlpool

Whirlpool is a cryptographic hash function designed by Vincent Rijmen and Paulo S. L. M. Barreto, who first described it in 2000. Whirlpool is based on a substantially modified version of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Whirlpool produces a hash digest of 512 bits (64 bytes).

#### SHA-2

SHA-2 (Secure Hash Algorithm 2) is a set of cryptographic hash functions designed by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), first published in 2001. They are built using the Merkle–Damgård structure, from a one-way compression function itself built using the Davies–Meyer structure from a (classified) specialized block cipher.

SHA-2 basically consists of two hash algorithms: SHA-256 and SHA-512. SHA-224 is a variant of SHA-256 with different starting values and truncated output. SHA-384 and the lesser-known SHA-512/224 and SHA-512/256 are all variants of SHA-512. SHA-512 is more secure than SHA-256 and is commonly faster than SHA-256 on 64-bit machines such as AMD64.

The output size in bits is given by the extension to the "SHA" name, so SHA-224 has an output size of 224 bits (28 bytes); SHA-256, 32 bytes; SHA-384, 48 bytes; and SHA-512, 64 bytes.

#### SHA-3

SHA-3 (Secure Hash Algorithm 3) was released by NIST on August 5, 2015. SHA-3 is a subset of the broader cryptographic primitive family Keccak. The Keccak algorithm is the work of Guido Bertoni, Joan Daemen, Michael Peeters, and Gilles Van Assche. Keccak is based on a sponge construction which can also be used to build other cryptographic primitives such as a stream cipher. SHA-3 provides the same output sizes as SHA-2: 224, 256, 384, and 512 bits.

Configurable output sizes can also be obtained using the SHAKE-128 and SHAKE-256 functions. Here the -128 and -256 extensions to the name imply the security strength of the function rather than the output size in bits.

#### BLAKE2

BLAKE2, an improved version of BLAKE, was announced on December 21, 2012. It was created by Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Samuel Neves, Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn, and Christian Winnerlein with the goal of replacing the widely used but broken MD5 and SHA-1 algorithms. When run on 64-bit x64 and ARM architectures, BLAKE2b is faster than SHA-3, SHA-2, SHA-1, and MD5. Although BLAKE and BLAKE2 have not been standardized as SHA-3 has, BLAKE2 has been used in many protocols including the Argon2 password hash, for the high efficiency that it offers on modern CPUs. As BLAKE was a candidate for SHA-3, BLAKE and BLAKE2 both offer the same output sizes as SHA-3 – including a configurable output size.

#### BLAKE3

BLAKE3, an improved version of BLAKE2, was announced on January 9, 2020. It was created by Jack O'Connor, Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Samuel Neves, and Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn. BLAKE3 is a single algorithm, in contrast to BLAKE and BLAKE2, which are algorithm families with multiple variants. The BLAKE3 compression function is closely based on that of BLAKE2s, with the biggest difference being that the number of rounds is reduced from 10 to 7. Internally, BLAKE3 is a Merkle tree, and it supports higher degrees of parallelism than BLAKE2.