In cryptography, SHA-2
is a set of cryptographic hash functions
(SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512
) designed by the National Security Agency
(NSA) and published in 2001 by the NIST
as a U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard
. SHA stands for Secure Hash Algorithm
. SHA-2 includes a significant number of changes from its predecessor, SHA-1
. SHA-2 consists of a set of four hash functions with digests that are 224, 256, 384 or 512 bits.
In 2005, security flaws were identified in SHA-1, namely that a mathematical weakness might exist, indicating that a stronger hash function would be desirable. Although SHA-2 bears some similarity to the SHA-1 algorithm, these attacks have not been successfully extended to SHA-2.
A new hash standard, SHA-3, is currently under development; an ongoing NIST hash function competition
is scheduled to end with the selection of a winning function in 2012. The SHA-3 algorithm will not be derived from SHA-2.
NIST published four additional hash functions in the SHA family, named after their digest lengths (in bits): SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, and SHA-512. The algorithms are collectively known as SHA-2.
The algorithms were first published in 2001 in the draft FIPS PUB 180-2, at which time review and comments were accepted. FIPS PUB 180-2, which also includes SHA-1, was released as an official standard in 2002. In February 2004, a change notice was published for FIPS PUB 180-2, specifying an additional variant,... Read More