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New King of Security Algorithms Crowned

A five-year hunt for a new cryptographic hash scheme leads to the discovery that the old one was really good

3 min read
New King of Security Algorithms Crowned
Illustration: Henrik Jonsson/iStockphoto

A new cryptographic hash algorithm, proclaimed the winner of a five-year competition in October, is literally a solution in search of a problem.

Basically, cryptographic hash algorithms are a way to ensure information security. They are typically used in digital signatures and in establishing connections with secure websites. Data that is run through a hash algorithm produces a shorter string of bits; this string acts as a kind of digest of the data. Any change to the data changes the bit string. The resulting string, therefore, acts as a fingerprint of the data, guaranteeing that no one has tampered with it. 

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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