Tech explained: What is a hash, what is brute force and are hashes secure?

Identifying Data

Security professionals often use hashes to represent data – think of it like a unique fingerprint or “key” for the data. While there are many ways to make data keys (we could assign them sequentially, or pick them at random) hashes provide a way to build a unique key from the data itself.

The purpose of a key is to allow us to reference a piece of data. Perhaps we need a key to identify movies; we could define a data key as:

- the first letter of each word in the title,
- directors initials
- and the year of release.

So, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, by Steven Speilberg (1984) would have the key: IJATTODSS1984.

This key is pretty simple and easy to reverse. Because we know the key (IJATTODSS1984) and how it’s made, we can identify the movie by searching the Internet for releases in 1984, and directors with the initials S.S. This key is also not guaranteed to be unique, Continue reading

Obligatory First Post

When you start something and you’re not entirely sure where you’re headed…

So this is the obligatory first post. Obviously it’s here to make the front page look less sad and lonely. It’s also a good opportunity to help me document how I plan to structure my posts – a stake in the ground so I can look back and see where I’ve started and what I’ve become.

I have recently started down a research path, but I was really not prepared for the intensity of academic studies. They were quite foreign to me and initially a very daunting experience: “How do I ‘do research’?” and “What do I research?”, these were two massive questions that kept me up at night. Continue reading