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What Is Hashing In Cybersecurity?

In purely technical and mathematical terms, hashing is described as a one-way data security process that involves converting any data into a bunch of nondescript gibberish that makes it impossible to decrypt or decode in any way. 

In cybersecurity, hashing is a powerful tool and a guaranteed way to keep your mission-critical information or sensitive business or client data out of the hands of prying hackers and cybercriminals. The beautiful thing about hashing is that it can also help your passwords, documents on your devices, messages, etc., be safe and coded.

The Necessity

Once any type of data is hashed using an algorithm, it becomes illegible and impossible to read. However, it also becomes extremely difficult to decode or access – and in a lot of cases, even avant-garde software technology won’t work.

Hashing in cybersecurity has emerged as a rampantly used data protection strategy owing to the string of cybercrimes and security breaches that have occurred in the past 2-3 years, including Facebook’s huge data leak where the personal information of more than 530 million users on the platform was leaked from more than 105 countries.

So, hashing is now a top way to secure data in both small and large businesses, especially after the Covid-19 outbreak, which essentially caused a lot of employees to work remotely. The hybrid work trend continues post-COVID, making it extremely vital for companies to ensure their in-house systems are secured from both internal and external threats.

You have to understand that both types of working environments – remote and hybrid require companies to implement SSO (single sign-on) software to ensure there are communications between in-house and remote teams, propelling user experiences across the board.

While single sign-on technology is vital for today’s work culture, cybercriminals have also picked up on specific vulnerabilities that can be exploited in this system, thereby committing breaches and stealing personal information, critical business data, credentials, passwords, etc., and selling it to the highest bidder.

Looking At the Different Types of Hashing Algorithms

While there are a variety of hashing algorithms that are used worldwide, we’re going to dive into explaining some of the more popular ones that both big and small enterprises use.


LANMAN, which is also known as the LAN Manager is a hash algorithm and network operating system developed by Microsoft. It also functions as an authentication protocol and is primarily hailed and used by organizations for its superb password protection and storage features. The LANMAN hash algorithm was launched way back in the late 80s.


NTLM is short for New Technology LAN Manager. The hash algorithm was also developed by Microsoft and offers a comprehensive array of powerful security options and protocols for verifying and authenticating user identity and safeguarding the confidentiality of their network activity including their passwords and access information.

However, it is also important to understand that NTLM also functions as a single sign-on software that primarily depends on a challenge-response protocol to validate any user on the network without needing them to input their password. This process is also known as NTLM authentication.


Scrypt is another hash algorithm that is essentially known as a KDF (key derivation function). It is also used as a PBKDF (password-based key derivation function). One of the best things about Scrypt is that it allows cybersecurity professionals to convert files, data, and passwords into cryptographic encodings. Scrypt is hailed as being one of the best hashing strategies against deadly cyberattacks involving brute-force attacks.

Why Do Organizations Use Hashing in Cybersecurity?

The central application and specific objective of hashing in cybersecurity is to help companies and businesses, no matter how big or small, protect all their data and files. In light of this, let’s explore the vital applications of hashing.

The Integrity of Mission Critical Data and Information Security

  • Hashing guarantees that a company’s data is not and cannot be damaged, tampered with, altered, or modified in any way.
  • It provides a powerful peace of mind that the data will always be safeguarded against potential threats.
  • Cloud-based data security or filed and information secured via a hybrid system is further bolstered with hashing technology.
  • It massively helps cybersecurity specialists maximize data protection and keep vulnerabilities from applications at bay.

Streamlined Protection of Your Messages and the Need for Message Verification

  • Hashing offers cutting-edge personal message security and integrity.
  • It makes sure that any incoming or outgoing messages are not modified or altered while being transmitted.
  • A user can authenticate the integrity of incoming and outgoing messages or communication by observing the hash value of the message received compared to its original hash value.

Excellent For Validating and Authenticating Passwords

  • Hashing is rampantly used to maximize the security of the password verification process and storage.
  • To authenticate a user’s password, you can use hashing to compare the hash value saved before the new hash value was implemented.
  • Hashing offers a powerful and seamless way of securing your passwords because it guarantees that even if there is a password database breach, the culprits will never be able to decode or decrypt the passwords.

Offers Extreme File Integrity and Prevent Anyone From Modifying Data

  • Hashing is an ideal data security strategy to safeguard your file systems against potential manipulation, preventing internal or external bad actors from breaching their integrity.
  • Thanks to hashing, a cybersecurity professional will always be able to tell whether any data or files have been tampered with. They can do this by looking at the before and after transmission of the file and comparing their hash values.
  • Hashing is predominantly used to keep cyber criminals and corporate spies from making any modifications, making sure that the data stays true and incorruptible.

Understanding Some Major Differences Between Hashing and Data Encryption

Due to the nature of both hashing and encrypting data in cybersecurity, it is easy for the layperson to conflate the two functionalities as possibly being one. However, nothing can be further from the truth. The outcomes presented by the two cybersecurity methodologies are potentially the same, but their functionalities are very different.

The primary difference between hashing and encryption is the fact that the former is a one-way transitioning of data while encryption is a two-way conversion of data. A hash value is a very complex cesspool of text that can only decrypted or decoded if the culprit also had an idea of what the data’s hash function is and then reverse engineer the entire hash value.

On the other hand, encryption, while also a powerful cybersecurity deterrent, is a two-way strategy. Although file encryptions also go through complex algorithm-based conversions (transitioning a data file into the encoded format), an encrypted file can only be accessed or decoded if the perpetrator has access to the decoding key. 

Another major difference between these two types of data protection strategies is that hashing offers you the capability to secure and authenticate all your data files, messages, and any other mission-critical digital or network assets.

You will always be able to confirm that any data or communications transmitted between internal and external resources have not been intercepted by a third party by looking at the hash value of the data when it was sent versus its hash value when it was received. With encryption, unfortunately, there is just no way of figuring out or indicating whether the data sent or received has been manipulated.

Bottom Line

Hashing is a very good strategy when it comes to comprehensive cybersecurity protection, as it helps companies and individuals convert files and data into encoded fixed-length hash values for a variety of different uses and applications including password authentication, secure file management, message verification, and much more.

Hashing provides bulletproof security by authenticating the integrity of your data, keeping bad actors away from potentially tampering with the data, thereby ensuring its authenticity. The different types of hashing strategies such as  LANMAN, NTLM, and Scrypt all provide powerful and cutting-edge hash values that cannot be reverse-engineered, guaranteeing total integrity and security of all your data.





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