Technical Terms and Definitions

MD5 - Software

An algorithm created in 1991 by Professor Ronald Rivest that is used to create digital signatures. It is intended for use with 32 bit machines and is safer than the MD4 algorithm, which has been broken. MD5 is a one-way hash function, meaning that it takes a message and converts it into a fixed string of digits, also called a message digest.

When using a one-way hash function, one can compare a calculated message digest against the message digest that is decrypted with a public key to verify that the message hasn't been tampered with. This comparison is called a "hashcheck."