Computer security is an important aspect for most companies. Many organizations use a process of hashing data in hash files to encrypt important data. Hash data is a numerical representation of the data and is not easy for a human to interpret. A hash file is a file that has been converted to a numeric string by a mathematical algorithm. This data can only be understood after being decrypted with a hash key.
Hash data is a numerical representation of data that is difficult for a person to interpret.
The hashing process is the mathematical conversion of a string of characters into a smaller value, commonly called a hash key. This new value represents the original string once encrypted. Hash is often used in databases as a method of creating an index. As hash values are smaller than strings, the database can perform read and write functions faster.
Hash files are commonly used as a method of checking file size. This process is called checksum verification. When a file is sent over the network, it must be divided into small pieces and reassembled after reaching its destination. In this situation, the hash number represents the size of the data in a file. The hash can then be used as a tool to validate that the entire file was successfully transmitted over the network.
The hash procedure was first created in the 1950s as a method of speeding up computer access. Creating hash files requires a hash function, which is a mathematical algorithm. There are many types of hash algorithms available in computer engineering today. These functions vary in complexity, but all seek to manipulate strings of text and convert them to numbers.
Most law enforcement agencies use hash files to store important fingerprint information. The fingerprint technology available today uses hash files and functions to capture the images of each fingerprint. These fingerprint images are converted into a numeric format and stored in law enforcement databases. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains one of the largest fingerprint databases in the United States. These fingerprints include all known criminals in the United States and are stored using hash technology.
Hash technology is also used as a security device between computers on the Internet. Computer certificates are the encrypted keys exchanged between computers and software on a computer network. These keys identify a computer as a trusted recipient of a software program. The hash function is used to inspect and verify that the correct key belongs to a specific computer. This key technology has been available for many years as a technique to verify computers before information is sent over the Internet.