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What Is a Hash Converter?

Article Details
  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 02 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Cryptology has been used for centuries as a method of creating secret messages. This science is based on enciphering and deciphering messages using secret codes. Data encryption is the computer process of converting data into a secret format. This process is completed by using a hashing algorithm. A hash converter is an algorithm that will convert or decipher a hash value back to the original format.

Each hashing algorithm has a specific hash converter protocol. This converter is a mathematical function that works with the original algorithm that scrambled the message. This converter function makes it possible to decipher a message back into a understandable format. These hashes vary in complexity depending on the required security level and type of data being scrambled.

Many algorithms require secret keys as an additional security layer to convert messages. These keys are used during the encryption process as input for the secret message. This same key is required for the hash converter during the deciphering process.

Hashing files is as much of an art as it is a science. Computer hackers throughout the world are constantly trying to write decryption programs for each new hashing algorithm. This is a constant game of cat and mouse between software engineers and hackers. The battle continues to raise the level of security sophistication that is available for most government and large organizations. Each hash converter program is designed to decrypt a specific hash function.

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the governing body that oversees cryptology standards. This group is responsible for the validation of cryptographic modules and cryptographic algorithm implementations. The agency is a testing unit that verifies and validates new approaches to encryption.

The data encryption standard (DES) is a standard encryption process that was approved by NIST to be used in the United States in the late 1970s. This standard was one of the early examples of data encryption. It used a 56-bit key algorithm to encrypt messages. This type of encryption has been eclipsed by advance encryption standard (AES), which is a standard that has a more complex 256-bit key algorithm.

There are hundreds of encryption programs available today. The hash converter software will run on most operating systems and is specific to the type of hashing algorithm being used. The converter programs are designed to transform encrypted data into plan text. It is nearly impossible to decipher a file without knowing how it was originally encrypted. Most hackers run encryption files through multiple converter programs in an attempt to translate the format.

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