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Encryption vs. hashing

Educative Answers Team

Encryption and hashing have separate use cases, but they are both used to increase your privacy. In this shot, we will look at how they differ in function and operation.

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Encryption is a two-way process. Encrypted files are meant to be decrypted by those who have access to the data. However, anyone with the key can unencrypt data and allow for granular access control.


Hashing is a one-way process – you cannot retrieve the original text from the hashed product even if the hash function is known. This means there is no risk if a hacker gets a hold of your password’s hash.

Modern applications​ use a technique called password hashing, so they never have to store your password. This will protect your password from hackers if the database of the service you use is compromised.

Data can be encrypted based on various properties of the original input like numerical, digital, or semantic characteristics.

Hashing is generally done based on the numerical properties of the input.

Encryption can be used for authentication purposes by providing confidence that no one else was able to read the file.

A hash changes if the input changes; therefore, hashing is used for authentication purposes by ensuring no changes have been made to a file. It is usually easier to compare hashes when checking for changes than to check for them in the actual files.


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