New hash standard set

Don Evans

Secretary of Commerce Don Evans has approved a new secure hashing standard for sensitive but unclassified information. It will become mandatory Feb. 1.

Federal Information Processing Standard 180-2, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, replaces FIPS 180-1. It uses three algorithms to produce longer hashes, or message digests, for digital signatures and message authentication.

Besides the SHA-1 algorithm from FIPS 180-1, which produces 160-bit message digests, FIPS 180-2 can produce 256-, 384- and 512-bit digests. Because SHA-1 is part of FIPS 180-2, products already certified under FIPS 180-1 can continue to be used after Feb. 1.

A hashing algorithm reduces a document to a series of digits, and it is 'computationally infeasible to find two different messages that produce the same message digest,' NIST said. Any change to the document will result in a different digest, or hash, which reveals the change.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

Featured

  • Records management: Look beyond the NARA mandates

    Pandemic tests electronic records management

    Between the rush enable more virtual collaboration, stalled digitization of archived records and managing records that reside in datasets, records management executives are sorting through new challenges.

  • boy learning at home (Travelpixs/Shutterstock.com)

    Tucson’s community wireless bridges the digital divide

    The city built cell sites at government-owned facilities such as fire departments and libraries that were already connected to Tucson’s existing fiber backbone.

Stay Connected