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Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2)

Definition - What does Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2) mean?

The Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2) is a computer security cryptographic algorithm. It was created by the US National Security Agency (NSA) in collaboration with the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) as an enhancement to the SHA-1 algorithm. SHA-2 has six different variants, which differ in proportion with the bit size used for encrypting data.

Techopedia explains Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2)

The SHA-2 family of hash functions includes:

  • SHA-224
  • SHA-256
  • SHA-284
  • SHA-512
  • SHA-512/224
  • SHA-512/256

The number in each variant represents the bit values. SHA-2 provides better prevention against collision, meaning the same input data always has a different hash value. SHA-2 uses from 64 to 80 rounds of cryptography operations, and it is commonly used to validate and sign digital security certificates and documents.

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