February 23, 2017 / 2:49 PM / in 9 months

Google, Dutch institute crack key internet security standard

(Reuters) - A collaboration between Google’s research unit and a Dutch institute on Thursday cracked a widely used cryptographic technology that has been one of the key building blocks of internet security.

Attendees wait for the program to begin during the presentation of new Google hardware in San Francisco, California, U.S. October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

The algorithm, known as Secure Hash Algorithm 1 or SHA-1, is currently used to verify the integrity of digital files and signatures that secure credit card transactions as well as Git open-source software repositories.

Researchers were able to demonstrate a “collision attack” using two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 fingerprint, but with different visible content, according to a paper published by Amsterdam-based Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica.

“Moving forward, it’s more urgent than ever for security practitioners to migrate to safer cryptographic hashes such as SHA-256 and SHA-3,” according to a post by the collaborators on Google’s security blog.

Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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