The MD5 Hash

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The security of your messages is important in this technologically advanced world. Hackers are always working hard to stay one step ahead of our security measures. Most of our business and personal transactions are done using the Internet and the computer, therefore we have to keep up with the tampering and corruptions of files.

A MD5 hash is one method that you can compare a file or message to verify the message and its content making sure it’s not been hampered with, partially sent or altered in any way. Every operating system these days has ways to check MD5 hashes.

What exactly is MD5? It’s a message digest that provides a very complex and digital signature for a stream of data. The theory behind this is that no message will have the same signature making it easy to recognize if the transmission of such a message was not identical.

It’s kind of like an encryption of the message so that the signature is sent first then the message and they can be compared. If they are not providing matching descriptions you are on alert that your system and message has been breached.

This is not a method you want to use if you want to prevent breaching but it is a way to determine if it is occurring. A message or system that requires 100% protection should look to a more secure method, but for most basic functions the message digest is perfect.

MD5 was created to replace MD4 because they realized that the older program only used 16 or 32 bit CRC or cyclical redundancy codes. At that time, these shorter codes worked fine but as the transmissions become more complex and the binary data was longer, a more advanced system was in demand.

There are a number of computer languages like Java and Perl so it’s a good idea to use a program that incorporates md5, especially if your responsible for monitoring a website or mass amounts of files.

You want to be the first to know if there is any tampering occurring so you are able to react quickly. This is a method to notify you of issues and not crisis prevention. It’s easy to be utilized when using any number of software packages. So make the simple step of comparing MD5 hashes.

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