Understanding SHA-224: A Comprehensive Guide


The Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) series, including SHA-224, is part of the SHA-2 family, developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) and published in 2001 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). SHA-224 was designed as a part of the U.S. Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS).

Example Hash

An example hash of "Hello World" in SHA-224 might look like:


SHA-224 is widely used in various security applications and protocols, including TLS and SSL, PGP, SSH, and IPsec, particularly for data integrity verification and authentication processes.


SHA-224 was developed to provide an alternative to SHA-256 with a slightly reduced bit length, offering a balance between security and computational efficiency.

How It Works

SHA-224 employs a series of bitwise operations, logical functions, and modular additions to process the input data. It processes data in 512-bit blocks and outputs a 224-bit hash value.


While SHA-224 itself does not inherently use a salt (random data added to the input), it can be implemented with salting to enhance security against dictionary attacks.


The main limitation of SHA-224 is its susceptibility to length extension attacks, although it's less vulnerable than SHA-1.

Particularities Compared to Other Algorithms

SHA-224 offers a shorter hash compared to SHA-256, which can be advantageous for saving space without significantly compromising security.

Computational Power/Cost

SHA-224 is computationally efficient, making it suitable for systems with limited resources while still providing robust security.

Resistance to Attacks

SHA-224 is resistant to common cryptographic attacks, including collision and pre-image attacks, though not as strong as SHA-256 or SHA-3.


While SHA-224 is currently secure, the progression in computational power and cryptanalysis may eventually render it less effective.

Modern Alternatives

Modern alternatives like SHA-256 and SHA-3 offer enhanced security and are recommended for more critical security applications.


SHA-224 is compatible with most existing systems and protocols requiring cryptographic hashing, ensuring a wide range of applicability.


While SHA-224 is a reliable cryptographic hash function, its use should be considered in less critical applications. For enhanced security, newer algorithms like SHA-256 or SHA-3 are recommended.

Share this Post: