What Is SHA-2?

SHA-2 (Secure Hash Algorithm 2) refers to a family of cryptographic hash functions that can convert arbitrarily long strings of data into digests of a fixed size (224, 256, 384, or 512 bits). 256-bit SHA-2, also known as SHA-256, is the most often-used version. The digest is commonly displayed as a fixed value hexadecimal number. (SHA-256, for instance, returns a 64 character code.)

SHA-2 has supplanted SHA-1 in security protocols like SSL/TLS.

The Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) series of hash functions is comprised of different sets (SHA-0, SHA-1, SHA-2, SHA-3).