Why is Hashing Your Top Priority for Data Security?

Have you been trying to provide customer data to a partner for retargeting across the web? Perhaps even to your agency or programmatic provider to use in a campaign?

Does it worry you to share your customer data to monetize your data and earn revenues?? You’re not alone.

We have the solution for you. Right here. Right now.

Hashing it is!

Hashing
Hashing-Data-Security

What is Hashing?

“A hash function is an algebraic function which converts a given input into a compressed numeric value, i.e. a hash or hash value. It cannot be read and reversed and is a one way process.”

A hash function is a processing unit that takes in data of a random length and provides you with the output of a fixed length, i.e. the hash value.

It is one important way to enable data security during the process of data transmission.

Hashing Algorithm
Hashing Algorithm

But Why would You Hash Data?

Data is the most valuable asset you have. As a marketer, the data on your existing audience and your target audience matters a lot.

But data alone does not add value, but you need to segment and use that data further correctly.

For example, you can share a list of email addresses of your current customers who have already purchased a certain product and exclude them from your advertising campaigns. And so, you can drive a much more efficient  and targeted advertising campaign.

Hashing is of Great Use and Serves a Variety of Purposes. Let’s Talk About Some of its Applications Below:

1) Message Digest Hashing:

Cryptographic hash codes and hashing algorithms are used in message digesting, i.e., they produce an output from which reaching the input is next to impossible.

For eg., Suppose you need to store data on any of the available cloud services. You have to ensure that the data you store is not damaged by any third party. So, how do you do it? You do it by this algorithm.

2) Password Verification:

Let’s suppose you are using any online website. It requires your user login. So, you enter your email id and password to authenticate that this account belongs to you.

When you enter the password, a hash of the password is measured and sent to the server to verify it. The passwords that are stored on the server are the computed hash values of the password you feed into.

The input that you provide undergoes it in data structure, and a hashed value of output gets stored in the database.

hashing algorithm for password verification

3) Rabin Karp Hashing Algorithm:

This is a string-searching algorithm which uses hashes to find any one set of patterns in a string practically to detect plagiarism.

4) Linking File Name and Path Together:

When you are trying to move through files on your local system, you observe two important file components, i.e. file_name and file_path.

You can use hashcodes in hash tables to maintain the harmony between file_name and file_path.

5) Data Structures(Programming Languages):

Programming languages have a hash table based Data Structures, where the basic idea is to create a key-value pair. Hash keys are used in C++, java, python etc.

6) Compiler Operation Hashing:

A hash table using hash codes is used to differentiate between the keywords of a programming language and other identifiers.

In addition, it provides constant-time search, inserting and deleting operations in particular too.

What are the Properties of a Useful Hash Function?

Here are the four must-have qualities of a useful hash function:

1) Computationally Efficient

In the first place, hash functions must be computationally efficient i.e., it should be possible for hashing algorithms to compute a hash function in a short period. 

2) Deterministic

If you put in the same input a million times in a row, a hash function must give the same output a million times over. Because if a hash function produces different outputs each time, the hash function would turn useless.

3) Pre-Image Resistant

The output of a hash function must not reveal any information about the input. This is called pre-image resistance or resisting a pre-image attack.

So, a useful hash function must cover up any clue about what the input may look like, and it should make it impossible to determine what the input could have been.

4) Collision Resistant

In simple words, it means that it should be practically impossible to find two different inputs that give out output with the same value to avoid risks.

There are Several Types of Hashing Functions. So What are its Common Types?

These include:

1) Division Remainder Functions: This uses the table size as the divisor. It computes the hash value from the key using the % operator.

2) Digit or Character Extraction Function: This works based on the distribution of digits or characters in the key. This hash function extracts the more evenly distributed digit positions and uses them for hashing purposes.

3) Folding Function: It involves the procedure of splitting keys into two or more parts and then combining the pieces and form the hash addresses.

Example: To map the key 26456715 to a range between 0 and 9999, you can: split the number into two as 2645 and 6715, and then add these two to obtain 9360 as the hash value.

4) Radix Conversion Function: Radix function transforms a key into another number base, and you thus obtain the hash value. It typically uses number base other than base 10 and base 2 to calculate the hash addresses.

5) Mid-Square Function: In this hash function, the key is squared, and the middle part of the result obtained is taken as the hash value.

Example: To map the key 3111 into a hash table of size 1000, we square (3111)²= 9678321 and extract 783(the middle part of the result obtained) as the hash value.

6) Digit Rearrangement Method: These include the message-digesting hash functions MD2, MD4, and MD5.

These are used for hashing the digital signatures into a shorter value called a message-digest.

Did You Hear of these Modern Hashing Algorithms?

Some hashing algorithms that you may come across are:

MD-5

The MD family of hashing algorithms comprises hash functions MD2, MD4, MD5 and MD6.

CRC32- Cyclic Redundancy Check 

CRC32 is a algorithm that is particularly used in industrial networks, where real cryptographic hashes are a considerable choice.

SHA

Secure Hashing Algorithm or SHA is a family of hash functions which defines three algorithms namely SHA-1, SHA-2 and SHA-3.

Tiger

It is a 192-bit-sized cryptographic hashing algorithm which usually truncates its output to form 160-bit and 128-bit hash functions.

Hashing is So Useful. So What are its Benefits?

  • Whether it is about storing passwords or in computer graphics using hash-codes, it is the ultimate solution.
  • You can compress your data using a chosen hash algorithm of a fixed size. These are highly suitable when you want to identify or compare data.
  • Instead of comparing the data in its original form, it becomes much easier for computers to compare the hash values.
  • It enables the security of the data transmission and protects the data from any damages. And as a result, secure data is a better revenue-generating opportunity for you. 
  • It helps to retrieve data in a more reliable and flexible method than any other data structure.
  • It is comparatively faster than searching arrays and lists.
  • With it in data structure, you can control the space by picking the speed of retrieval. You can also control the speed by picking the amount of space for the hash table instead of the former case.

Shall We Wrap Up?

In conclusion, hash is a useful tool which verifies that the data is copied correctly between two resources. It can also check if the data are identical without opening and comparing them.

You use it primarily for retrieval of items in a database as it makes it quicker to find the item using a short hash key than to locate it using the original value.

it ensures that the messages during transmission are not tampered with and thus plays a vital role in the data security system. It is also used to encrypt and decrypt digital signatures using hash codes.

You can also make significant profits through data monetization by coding your algorithm and utilizing arrays for node storage.

Did you enable data security using hashing yet?

Tell me in the comments.

Sonali Gupta

Sonali is a technical content writer who loves to blend her creativity with rational ideas of business and technology. She writes expert resource materials related to the Martech and adtech world updated with the digital trends. Previously worked as a banker, she has been a student of Economics and Human Resources. An ardent believer of Universe and optimism, she writes poetry and quotes to satiate her soul. She is always keen on nature, traveling, music and photography.

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