Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2
A hash algorithm is an algorithm that produces a hash value of a piece of data, such as a message or session key. With a good hash algorithm, changes in the input data can alter every bit in the resulting hash value. For this reason, hashes are useful in detecting any modification in a data object, such as a message. Furthermore, a good hash algorithm makes it computationally infeasible to construct two independent inputs that have the same hash. Typical hash algorithms include MD5, SHA-1, and SHA-256.