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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.

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I believe that SHA-512 is the most secure, as the government uses that, the latter is my personal opinion. –  Adam Jan 28 '12 at 9:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 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.

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

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