Sunday, November 1, 2009

SY0-201 Practice Exam Question Hashing

What is it called when the hash of two different files is the same?

A. Variation
B. Deviation
C. Collision
D. Conflict

Answer: C

Answer below.

A hash is simply a number that is created by performing a hashing algorithm on a file or a message. No matter how many times the hashing algorithm is calculated, it will always return the same number - unless the file or message has been modified.

When used in this context, a hash provides integrity. The hash is calculated at the source, and then again at the destination. If the hashes are different, the file or message has lost integrity.

However, what if someone could modify the message enough so that the new has is the same as the original hash. It would look like it has not lost integrity because the hashes are the same, but it has lost integrity. A secure hash (one of sufficient strength) cannot be recreated. In other words, someone should not be able to modify a file or message enough to reproduce the original hash.

Over 375 practice test questions in this book:
CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead: SY0-201 Study Guide

A hash collision occurs when two completely different files can produce the same hash when they are hashed using the same hashing algorithm. The other terms listed aren’t related to hashes.