In cryptography, SHA-1 is a cryptographic hash function designed by the United States National Security Agency and published by the United States NIST as a U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard. SHA stands for "secure hash algorithm". The four SHA algorithms are structured differently and are distinguished as SHA-0, SHA-1, SHA-2, and SHA-3. SHA-1 is very similar to SHA-0, but corrects an error in the original SHA hash specification that led to significant weaknesses. The SHA-0 algorithm was not adopted by many applications. SHA-2 on the other hand significantly differs from the SHA-1 hash function.
A cryptographic hash function is a hash function; that is, an algorithm that takes an arbitrary block of data and returns a fixed-size bit string, the (cryptographic) hash value, such that any (accidental or intentional) change to the data will (with very high probability) change the hash value. The data to be encoded are often called the "message," and the hash value is sometimes called the message digest or simply digest.