What Is Hashing In Cyber Security?

Reading time: 7 min read
Raj Vardhman
Written by
Raj Vardhman

Updated · Nov 17, 2023

Raj Vardhman
Chief Strategist, Techjury | Project Engineer, WP-Stack | Joined January 2023 | Twitter LinkedIn
Raj Vardhman

Raj Vardhman is a tech expert and the Chief Tech Strategist at TechJury.net, where he leads the rese... | See full bio

April Grace Asgapo
Edited by
April Grace Asgapo


April Grace Asgapo
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
April Grace Asgapo

April is a proficient content writer with a knack for research and communication. With a keen eye fo... | See full bio

Techjury is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

A hash function is a deterministic process in computer science and cryptography. It takes an input and produces a fixed-length string of characters, referred to as a "digest.”

Cybersecurity professionals use hashing to ensure that data on servers and cloud storage systems is unreadable to hackers, preventing cyberattacks.

In this article, you will learn about hashing in cybersecurity and how you can work it to your advantage.

🔑 Key Takeaways:

  • Hashing helps protect a piece of information’s integrity, confidentiality, and authenticity.
  • Cryptographic hashing refers to the transformation of keys or strings of characters to another value.
  • In password protection, hashing works by changing your password into an unfamiliar string of characters.
  • Businesses benefit from hashing since it stops hackers from accessing valuable data.

Hashing in Cybersecurity

Hashing is the act of transforming any key or string of characters into another value. This process is represented by a hash, an output that is shorter and fixed in length.

A hash code is hard to reverse because the algorithm used to build the hash is made to be a one-way function. Each random string of letters and numbers is a crucial piece of identification data. 

A hash value, hash function, or message digest is created and associated with each distinct piece of data and is a fixed-length string of plaintext characters.

An example of hashing is when you log in to your account. The website hashes the password you enter and compares it with the hash already saved.

A good hash function for security objectives needs to be a one-way, unidirectional process to make them even more rigid codes to crack by hackers.

👍 Helpful Articles:

Speaking of passwords, 80% of breaches are related to password problems.

Check out these articles to ensure your accounts don’t fall prey to malicious hackers on the internet:

 How Does Hashing Work?

In hashing, when users log in, the password is subjected to a one-way hashing technique, which changes it into an unfamiliar string of characters.

This procedure, known as salting, gives the authentication process an additional layer of protection.

Password hashing is used to compare the integrity of your password against the stored hash. This prevents your actual password from being transferred over a network or saved on a disk.

💡 Did You Know?

Hackers can employ brute force attacks to guess passwords. They do this by comparing hashes with those from other databases. Brute force attacks are common. In cyberattacks like Poke the Bear attacks, hackers try every possible password combination until they find the correct password to an account or system.

Hashing helps with this by being a one-way operation that maps input to a fixed-length value. It is critical in keeping safe against cyberattacks, but it also has many other uses.

How Is Hashing Used?

Businesses always seek to protect their cloud storage systems and data servers from vulnerabilities to malicious software. Cybersecurity experts use hashing to ensure that data on servers and cloud storage is unreadable by hackers. 

Back when passwords were stored in plaintext, security researchers realized that more is needed regarding privacy and information protection. 

Now, hashed values of your password are stored in most systems so that when you authenticate, the system needs only to validate your identity against the encrypted version of the password.

Hashing provides a great avenue to stop hackers from accessing data. There are also different types of hashing algorithms for different needs.

🎉 Fun Fact:

With a hacking incident occurring every 39 seconds, it’s necessary to add layers of protection to a system or account to protect it from bad guys. 

Different Uses Of Hashing In Cybersecurity

Different Uses Of Hashing In Cybersecurity

Hashing is a one-way function that creates a distinctive message digest from a file or string of text. A hashing algorithm uses the binary data of a specific file to determine the hash value.

Here are some of the different uses of hashing in cybersecurity:

Password Storage

Hashes protect a company's online infrastructure so hackers cannot access data like email passwords on servers.

Digital Signatures

Digital signatures can be encrypted and decrypted using hashing to confirm the sender and recipient of a message.

Document Management

The use of hashing algorithms confirms the authenticity of data. The cybersecurity expert will use a hash to safeguard a document once it has been completely written.

File Management

Businesses use hashes to index data and identify and delete duplicate files. When working with a cyber system with thousands of files, a company might save a lot of time using hashes.

Hashing can help in cyber security, and the different hashing algorithms have different functions.

Types Of Hashing Algorithms 

A hashing algorithm creates the one-way function hash value by performing a sophisticated calculation on the binary contents of a given file. You have a wide selection of hashing algorithms to pick from as a business owner. 

Here are some of the most well-liked hash codes created for decryption:


MD5, the Message Digest hashing algorithm's fifth iteration, creates a 128-bit function output. It is shown in hexadecimal format instead of a continuous stream of 1s and 0s.


A 160-bit hash function is produced by the Secure Hash Algorithm's second iteration, SHA-1. Since it replaced MD5, this Secure Hash Algorithm has become one of the primary hashing algorithms computer science experts utilize.


SHA-2 is a collection of hashing algorithms that includes SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, and SHA-512 rather than just one. Each hashing algorithm has a name that matches its bit output.


The Microsoft LAN Manager hashing technique, often known as LANMAN, is primarily used to store passwords. The Legacy Windows system was built using DES methods, which makes it more susceptible to brute force assaults and less secure than other hash function applications for storing sensitive data.


The NTLM hashing algorithm is another name for the NT LAN Manager.

NTLM, which is fast displacing LANMAN, generates password hashes during authentication.


Like other hashing algorithms like MD5 and SHA-1, sometimes called HMAC-MD5 and HMAC-SHA1, an HMAC is a fixed-length string of bits. Only the sender and receiver know the shared secret key HMAC employs to add some randomness to the outcome.


Another hash algorithm used for integrity is RACE Integrity Primitives Evaluation Message Digest (RIPEMD). It's less popular than MD5, SHA, and HMAC.


The CRC32 hash is a simple and quick function frequently used for database duplication detection, error detection, and data integrity checks. It is simple to implement and unlikely to result in hash collisions.

Pros And Cons Of Hashing

Hashing secure data while it is at rest; even if someone gains access to your server, its data is unreadable.

While it has its advantages, it also comes with disadvantages. Let’s take a deeper look:

✅ Pros


  • Easy to detect altered or corrupted data because the value will be dramatically altered even by minor changes to the input data.

  • The ability to search through enormous amounts of data quickly is a hash table's main benefit
  • Recovering the original input data using only the hash value is computationally impossible
  • Hash-based indexing may not be appropriate when sophisticated search patterns or partial matches are needed
  • Multiple inputs may produce the same hash value, leading to a collision, and causing problems with data integrity
  • It is irreversible because there is exactly one output for every input, but not the other way around


Hashing is used to validate data types, including files and documents, and in authentication systems. It's crucial to comprehend what hashing is and how it works because doing so can aid in preventing data breaches and safeguarding stored information.


What is hashing in computer security?

Database management systems employ the hashing approach to locate data without an index structure, making it simple to ascertain whether two files on a computer system are the same. Hash tables make it possible to retrieve and process data very quickly.

Why is it called hashing?

Hashing is simply putting some data through a formula to generate a hash. The hash is often a string of characters, and no matter how much data you input into the algorithm, it will always produce hashes of the same length.

What is the difference between hashing and encryption?

Encryption is a two-way function where information is scrambled via encryption that allows for later decryption, while hashing is a one-way function that maps data to a fixed-length value.


Facebook LinkedIn Twitter
Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published.