You get an e-mail from a trusted associate with vital information about an upcoming corporate deal. How do you know that it’s truly from your associate and that the message has not been tampered with?
A computerized function helps you find out. This function distills the text of an e-mail into a set of numbers before an e-mail message is encrypted.
Then, when the message is received, the recipient’s computer decrypts the message and distills the e-mail into numbers again. It then automatically compares the numbers. If they match, the message has not been tampered with; if they don’t, then the received message is not the same as the original version.
What is this function called?
Hint: Think of a common type of breakfast potatoes.