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What makes SHA-1 better than MD5 or DES?

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I''ve just been noticing that most networking libraries seem to rely on SHA-1 for file hasing and validation. I''m curious, what are the advantages of SHA-1 over other hashes such as MD5 or DES? I''m not suggesting using or not using the others, I''m just wondering why the networking stuff seems to favor SHA-1.

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Basically SHA-1 is slower but harder to crack and produces a larger digest than MD5. Both create digests rather than encrypting a stream and therefore are not very comparable to DES, which does actual encryption rather than just hashing.

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