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A cryptographic hash function is a type of security mechanism that produces a hash value, message digest or checksum value for a specific data object.
Cryptographic hash functions are implemented in information security to evaluate the integrity of data, authentication control and other security mechanisms. Cryptographic hash functions work by generating the checksum value of a data object. If the data is intentionally or unintentionally modified, the checksum value is changed. Thus, a data object’s integrity may be evaluated by comparing and verifying previous and current checksums.
Cryptographic hash functions must exhibit preimage resistance, second preimage resistance and collision resistance properties to ensure resilience against any cryptoclastic attack. Common examples of cryptographic hash functions are MD5 and SHA-1.