Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am encrypting a volume with TrueCrypt. I have decided to use AES as the encryption algorithm, seeing as it is the government standard.

But which hash algorithm is better (more secure)? RIPEMD-160 or SHA-512 or Whirlpool?

I am using Mac.

share|improve this question
I believe that SHA-512 is the most secure, as the government uses that, the latter is my personal opinion. – Mythrillic Jan 28 '12 at 9:21
up vote 14 down vote accepted

Both SHA-512 and Whirlpool are 512 bit hashes, while RIPEMD-160 is 160 bits. TrueCrypt uses these hashes with PBKDF2 to derive keys. When creating file volumes, Truecrypt uses 1,000 rounds for both SHA-512 and Whirlpool, but 2,000 rounds for RIPEMD-160. I have some software called TCHead that decrypts TrueCrypt headers. It's very simple and straight-forward and demonstrates how and where these hashes are used.

To answer your question, in my opinion, either SHA-512 or Whirlpool would be fine. I would use either and not worry about that too much. Hope this helps.

share|improve this answer

You may find the Cryptanalysis section of the Wikipedia page comparing hash algorithms useful to make your decision.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.