Hash Functions

Xiphera’s extensive portfolio of cryptographic hash functions complies with NIST standards for SHA-2, SHA-3, and Key Derivation Functions.

Hash functions play a crucial role in various applications, including data integrity verification, data retrieval, password storage, and digital signatures. Notable cryptographic hash algorithms include the Secure Hash Algorithms (SHA) standardised by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), of which SHA-2 and SHA-3 algorithm families are used in numerous applications today.

Xiphera offers a wide spectrum of hash function IP cores that are designed for optimal resource usage and high performance. Our SHA-3 and SHA-2/Message Authentication/Key Derivation Function IP cores follow the NIST standards. We offer versatile algorithm support for SHA-3 IP cores that support all variants of SHA-3 hashing algorithms (224, 256, 384, and 512 bits) as well as SHAKE and cSHAKE, and its derivatives KMAC, TupleHash, and ParallelHash.

Hash functions verify data integrity

Hash functions can be defined as mathematical operations that take an input (or message) – for example, a file, or a password – and produce a fixed-size string of characters known as a “hash value” or “hash”. 

There are two important factors that we want to ensure when we have to send some data or a message via a digital medium:

  1. Data confidentiality: No third-party is able to read the data we are sending.
  2. Data integrity: Data is not modified on its way, i.e. maintain and verify authenticity of data.

A hash algorithm must have the following properties:

  1. Non-reversibility: It should be impossible to find the input data from the hash value. In other words, if a third-party stumbles upon the hash value, it should be extremely difficult to determine what input data generated it.
  2. Uniformity: Hash value should be equally obtainable i.e., the outputs should be uniformly distributed.
  3. Fingerprint: A slight change in the input data should result in a significantly different hash value. This property ensures that even minor alterations in the input data produce vastly different hash outputs.
  4. Collision-resistance: A hash function should make it highly improbable for two different inputs to produce the same hash value. When this occurs, it’s called a collision. Collision resistance is vital for ensuring the integrity of data and security in cryptographic applications.

Use cases

Hash functions are essential building blocks for many cryptographic protocols. A few real-life use case scenarios for hash functions are:

  • Data Integrity Verification: Hash functions are used to ensure that data remains intact during transmission or storage. By comparing the hash of received data with the original hash, any changes or corruption in the data can be detected.
  • Password Storage/Verification: Instead of storing actual passwords, systems store their hash values. When a user logs in, the system hashes the entered password and checks it against the stored hash. This enhances security because even if the password database is breached, attackers can’t easily recover the original passwords.
  • Generating and Verifying Digital Signatures: Hash functions are a fundamental component of digital signatures. A hash function is used to create a hash of the data being signed. It is then signed using a private key, and recipients can verify the signature using the sender’s public key, ensuring both the document’s authenticity and integrity.
  • Cryptography in Passwords and Keys: Hash functions are used to derive cryptographic keys and create secure password hashes. This ensures that passwords and keys are resistant to brute-force attacks.

In addition to their straightforward use for computing cryptographic hash values, hash functions can be used for constructing other cryptographic primitives such as Pseudorandom Number Generators (PRNGs) and Message Authentication Codes (MACs).

Xiphera's Hash Function products

Key Derivation Functions (SHA-2)