Cryptography Using .NET: Message Authentication
1. Message Authentication. The .NET Framework supports five hashing algorithms,
SHA-256, SHA384, and SHA-512) and two keyed hashing algorithms
(HMAC-SHA-1 and MAC-Triple-DES).
2. Hashing Algorithms.
An implementation of the hashing algorithm is much simpler than the
encryption demonstrated in the previous section on Symmetric Encryption.
In this section, you will not have to use the ICryptoTransform,
CryptoStream, and MemoryStream objects.
The following table lists the hashing algorithms.
||Hash code size (bits)
an instance of the hashing implementation class HashAlgorithm, you would
use HashAlgorithm h_alg = HashAlgorithm.Create("SHA256"); to create the object h_alg, for the SHA-256 algorithm. You can omit the
hyphen between SHA and the number 256. For example, you can use either
SHA-256 or SHA256 for an argument of the Create method. To compute a hash code,
you should use the ComputeHash method of the
HashAlgorithm class as: byte h_code = h_alg.ComputeHash(byte message);
This method takes a byte array of a message as an argument, and returns
a byte array of a hash code.
3. Keyed Hashing Algorithms. The hashing algorithms can be made even more secure by using a secret
key. The .NET Framework supports two hybrid types of keyed hashing
algorithm as follows.
- The HMAC-SHA-1 algorithm is a combination of the HMAC and SHA-1
algorithm. The MAC-Triple-DES algorithm uses the Triple-DES to create a block
- The KeyedHashAlgorithm class defines these two algorithms. Thus, an
object of the keyed hashing algorithm, h_alg, can be created as
KeyedHashAlgorithm h_alg = KeyedHashAlgorithm.Create("HMACSHA1");
The Create method will take a string value, HMACSHA1 for the HMAC-SHA-1
algorithm, and MACTripleDES for the MAC-Triple-DES algorithm.
Since you are dealing with keyed hashing algorithms here, how would you set
up the key? You can use the same concept as described in the symmetric encryption
section to set up the key. Again, both the message and key must be converted to byte
arrays before hashing. After setting the key value, you can compute a
hash code using the ComputeHash method, similar to what described in
the Hashing Algorithms section.