What is a SHA256 Hash?
SHA-256, which stands for Secure Hash Algorithm 256-bit, is a cryptographic hash function that generates a fixed-size 256-bit (32-byte) hash value from input data of arbitrary length. It is part of the SHA-2 family of hash functions, which were designed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001. SHA-256 is widely used in various security-critical applications, including digital signatures, data integrity verification, and password storage. Unlike its predecessors like MD5 and SHA-1, SHA-256 is considered highly secure and resistant to collision attacks, thanks to its larger hash size and more complex algorithm. It plays a crucial role in ensuring the security and integrity of data in modern cryptographic systems and is a fundamental component of many secure protocols and algorithms used in the digital age.
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