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A hash algorithm is a function which takes a variable size input and produces a fixed size output. The algorithm tries to make it difficult to predict the output for a given input, find two inputs with the same output, or reconstruct the input from the output.

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data is not hashed - hashing is one way, you cannot get back the original value from a hash (at least not trivially, in reality and with many hash functions, you have a good chance, but let's disregard … that for a moment). Being one way means that hash functions are good for checking whether a password entered is the same as the stored one, but it is not good for storing data that you actually need …
answered Oct 28 '16 by Gabor Lengyel