[SOLVED] Does FIPS 140-2 allow using MD5 for checksum

Issue

This Content is from Stack Overflow. Question asked by Shreyas

I am using MD5 for checksums. My software is FIPS 140-2 compliant and it doesn’t throw any error / exception when I use MD5 for checksum. Where can I find a documentation which says FIPS 140-2 allows using MD5 for checksum.



Solution

FIPS 140-2 doesn’t specify MD5 as an allowed cryptographic algorithm. MD5 is extremely weak and totally insecure, and thus it is not suitable for use in applications which require cryptographic security.

If you are using MD5 as a generic checksum or hash function without cryptographic needs, then that is not within the scope of FIPS 140-2. However, you are better off using a simpler and faster algorithm like CRC64 or another simple hash function. There really is no good reason to use MD5 for any purpose these days.

However, neither of those are suitable for cryptographic purposes. If you need a hash function for cryptographic purposes, you should use one of the SHA-2 or SHA-3 functions for FIPS compliance, or additionally BLAKE2 if you don’t need FIPS compliance.


This Question was asked in StackOverflow by Shreyas and Answered by bk2204 It is licensed under the terms of CC BY-SA 2.5. - CC BY-SA 3.0. - CC BY-SA 4.0.

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