What is an MD5 Hash?
MD5, short for Message Digest Algorithm 5, is a widely used cryptographic hash function that generates a fixed-size 128-bit (16-byte) hash value from input data of arbitrary length. Developed by Ronald Rivest in 1991, MD5 was originally designed for checksums and data integrity verification purposes. It quickly gained popularity in various applications, including password storage and digital signatures. However, over the years, MD5 has become vulnerable to collision attacks, where two different inputs can produce the same hash value, rendering it unsuitable for security-critical applications. As a result, it has been largely replaced by more secure hash functions like SHA-256 and SHA-512 for cryptographic purposes. Nevertheless, MD5 still finds some use in non-security-critical tasks due to its simplicity and speed.
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