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RIPEMD Cryptographic Hash Function
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RIPEMD-160 is a cryptographic hash function designed by Hans Dobbertin, Antoon Bosselaers, and Bart Preneel in the framework of the European Union's RACE Integrity Primitives Evaluation (RIPE) project. RIPEMD-160 is a 160 bit replacement for earlier 128 bit message digests such as MD5.

While MD5 is still widely used to verify the authenticity of files and data, successful attacks on the integrity of the MD5 message digests have been demonstrated. See 2nd ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, ACM Press, 1994, pp. 210-218. While the costs of carrying out such an attack using high end computing equipment were estimated at US $10 million, these costs are deemed to half every 18 months. All users of message digests are therefore urged to upgrade to either RIPEMD-160 or the United States Secure Hash Algorithm SHA-1. However, users are adivsed that in contrast to RIPEMD-160 the design criteria as well as an earlier attack on the SHA-1 algorithm are generally held to be secret. It is for this reason that the designers of the SecExMail email cipher, for example, have chosen the RIPEMD-160 algorithm.

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