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A secure hash algorithm is actually a set of algorithms developed by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) and other government and private parties. These secure encryption or "file check" functions have arisen to meet some of the top cybersecurity challenges of the 21st century, as a number of public service groups work with federal government agencies to provide better online security standards for organizations and the public.
Within the family of secure hash algorithms, there are several instances of these tools that were set up to facilitate better digital security. The first one, SHA-0, was developed in 1993. Like its successor, SHA-1, SHA-0 features 16-bit hashing.
The next secure hash algorithm, SHA-2, involves a set of two functions with 256-bit and 512-bit technologies, respectively. There is also a top-level secure hash algorithm known as SHA-3 or "Keccak" that developed from a crowd sourcing contest to see who could design another new algorithm for cybersecurity.
All of these secure hash algorithms are part of new encryption standards to keep sensitive data safe and prevent different types of attacks. Although some of these were developed by agencies like the National Security Agency, and some by independent developers, all of them are related to the general functions of hash encryption that shields data in certain database and network scenarios, helping to evolve cybersecurity in the digital age.