Data Integrity: How to Check if your data has been tampered with?



Integrity is one of the guidelines for information security in an organization, Integrity is the accuracy, consistency, and trustworthiness of the data during its entire life cycle. Data must be unaltered during transit and not changed by unauthorized entities. File permissions and user access control can prevent unauthorized access. Version control can be used to prevent accidental changes by authorized users. Backups must be available to restore any corrupted data, and checksum hashing can be used to verify the integrity of the data during transfer meaning as data is been moved from one location to another either via USB or internet from one user to another, it is important that it is being kept on track. Sensitive information can be hijacked and content changed by malicious codes especially Man in the middle(MIM), Viruses, etc. Now a checksum is used to verify the integrity of these files, or strings of characters, after they have been transferred from one device to another across your local network or the Internet. 

Checksums are calculated with hash functions. Some of the common checksums are MD5, SHA-1, SHA-256, and SHA-512. After a file is downloaded, you can verify its integrity by verifying the hash values from the source with the one you generated using any hash calculator. By comparing the hash values, you can ensure that the file has not been tampered with or corrupted during the transfer. To verify this, we recommend you follow the following steps

1) Download HashCalc from www.slavasoft.com and install on your PC. HashCalc is a Fast calculator to compute hash, checksum, HMAC values for file, text and hex string

2) Run the application


3) Click on the dropdown arrow of Hex string and choose File

4) Click on the ... next to the data title bar to import your file

5) Once imported check the boxes corresponding to your intended checksum and Click calculate

6) Now compare the hash with the source.

Depending on the checksum you choosed, some hashes will be longer. If your data has been tampered with, you will notice a different hash from what it was recorded before being sent. The hash changes if the document was edited even by just an added letter or a space. its is important to keep the hashes of sensive documents in an excel file so that it can always be tracked at anytime.

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