Why Hash Verification of Every File is Important


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In today’s digital age, the need to ensure the integrity and authenticity of files is paramount. Every day, we share, download, and store files on our devices, making it crucial to verify their integrity to prevent data corruption, tampering, or unauthorized modifications. One effective method for achieving this is through hash verification.

In this article, we will delve into the importance of hash verification, explore its benefits, and provide step-by-step instructions for performing hash verification on Linux distributions.

Understanding Hash Verification

Verifying hash is a process that involves generating a unique alphanumeric string, commonly known as a hash, based on the contents of a file. The hash acts as a digital fingerprint for the file, allowing us to detect any changes made to the file’s content.

By comparing the computed hash with the original hash, we can verify if the file has remained intact and unaltered.

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Benefits of Hash Verification

Ensuring Data Integrity

One of the primary advantages of hash verification is its ability to guarantee data integrity. By calculating and comparing the hash values, we can quickly identify discrepancies and determine whether a file has been intentionally or unintentionally modified.

Verifying File Authenticity

Verifying hash not only detects modifications but also provides a means to verify the authenticity of a file. Since the hash value is unique to the file’s contents, even the slightest change will result in a different hash. By comparing the computed hash with the original hash provided by the file’s creator, we can confirm that the file has not been tampered with.

During data transmission or storage, files can be susceptible to corruption due to hardware failures, network issues, or other factors. It enables us to identify corrupted files by comparing the computed hash with the expected hash. If they differ, the file has been corrupted, and appropriate measures can be taken to rectify the issue.

Verifying Hash in Linux

Installing Required Tools

Before performing hash verification on Linux, we need to install the necessary tools. Here’s how to install the commonly used tools:

MD5 Hash Verification

To install the md5sum tool, open the terminal and execute the following command –

sudo apt-get install md5deep

Alternatively, we can also use md5sum command, a command of coreutils package.

sudo dnf install coreutils

SHA-256 Hash Verification

To install the sha256sum tool, use the following command –

sudo apt-get install sha256deep

Calculating Hash Values

Once the tools are installed, we can calculate the hash values of our files. To calculate the MD5 hash, use the following command –

md5deep <file_path>
md5sum <file_path>

For SHA-256 hash calculation, execute –

sha256deep <file_path>

Verifying Hash Values

After obtaining the hash values, we can verify them against the original values provided by the file source or creator. We need to create a file containing the hash values and the file name in the following format –

<hash_value>  <file_name>
Hash verification
Hash file

Use md5deep command for MD5 verification –

md5deep -X <hash_file> -r <directory_path>

Verify using md5sum –

md5sum -c hash_file
mdsum verify hash
mdsum verify hash

To verify SHA-256 hashes, use –

sha256deep -X <hash_file> -r <directory_path>

You may get the following error when performing verification –

md5sum: hash_values: no properly formatted checksum lines found

To fix the error, ensure that the hash file contains hash value and the file name in the correct format.

Correct format –



Hash verification is important for ensuring file integrity and authenticity and detecting data corruption. By comparing the calculated and expected hash, we can identify any changes made to a file’s content, providing us with peace of mind and trust in our data. With reliable tools in Linux, performing these checks has become more accessible.

By verifying hash, we can safeguard against data corruption and unauthorized modifications and maintain the trustworthiness of our files. So, the next time you receive or download a file, verify its hash value to ensure its integrity.

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