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Difference between SHA1 and SHA2

Difference between SHA1 and SHA2

Ever found yourself confused when it comes to understanding the differences between SHA1 and SHA2? Well, you’re not alone – these two cryptographic hash algorithms can be difficult to decipher for even the most tech-savvy among us! In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what sets these two algorithms apart from one another. We’ll dive into their different techniques, applications, and much more so that by the end of it all, you’ll have a greater comprehension of how they differ. So if you’ve been scratching your head over which algorithm is best suited for your own needs, stick around – this enlightening post is just getting started!

What is SHA-1?

SHA-1 is a cryptographic hash algorithm used by many applications and websites for authentication purposes. SHA-1 creates an output of 160 bits, or 20 bytes, from the input specified. SHA-1 is commonly used to verify that a file or message has not been altered as any changes to it would result in a different SHA-1 output. SHA-1 also helps guard against hybrid attacks which combine elements of known attacks against various hashing algorithms. SHA-1’s effectiveness and robustness have made it one of the most widely used hashing algorithms today.

What is SHA-2?

SHA-2 is an encryption standard established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that provides message authentication codes, digital signatures, and extended security. SHA-2 offers a greater degree of security than its predecessor SHA-1 as it employs longer hash values and has improved collision resistance, meaning it’s difficult for hackers to be able to ‘crack’ SHA-2 codes.

SHA-2 is also not prone to attack from backward compatability, meaning it is less vulnerable from potential threat vectors such as those relying on the SHA-1 code structure. Although SHA-2 has been widely adopted, there are newer generations with even more robust security such as SHA-3 that many organizations have yet to implement.

Difference between SHA1 and SHA2

SHA1 and SHA2 are cryptographic hash algorithms used for digital signatures, specifically for file integrity; SHA stands for Secure Hash Algorithm.

  • SHA1 produces a message digest of 160 bits, while SHA2 generates a message digest that is double the size at 320 bits.
  • SHA1 was designed by the National Security Agency (NSA) in 1995 and is considered as more secure compared to SHA2 which was released in 2001.
  • SHA2 has been adopted mainly due to its higher security than SHA1, with better prevention for collisions and hacking attacks on data.

SHA2 therefore offers enhanced protection against cyber threats ensuring that no intrusions or data breaches are caused and thus protecting sensitive information.


SHA-1 and SHA-2 are similar in that they are both cryptographic hash functions used to generate a digital fingerprint of data. However, SHA-2 is stronger and more secure than SHA-1 as it features longer digest sizes and can better protect against collision attacks. When selecting a hashing algorithm for your application, be sure to choose one that offers the highest level of security possible such as SHA-256 orSHA-3.

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