If you are an engineering CS student, then you would know what MD5 is, and if you are a CS student and still don't know what MD5 is don't worry you will get to know about it shortly. But if you are not a CS student, then this is very much new to you. MD5 stands for Message Digest. It is a hash algorithm with 128 bits hash value with 32 digits hexadecimal numbers. It contains a few digits which are generated using hashing. We can use this cryptographic algorithm only for security purposes. It helps to maintain integrity, the confidentiality of the message sent by the sender to the receiver. It produces a hash message from random data given to it and then secures the message so that no one can alter the message.
MD5, along with other cryptographic functions such as SHA is used to create a digital signature to protect the data. Let's understand how does it work, MD5 creates a hash value with the help of the message sent by the sender, now this created hash value is matched with the receiver’s hash value, and if paired the receiver gets access to the data.
MD5 is for one-way use as it is non-reversible and cannot be decrypted by others. Only the hash value of the receiver can decrypt the MD5 has value and access the information from it.
Now you can use it online as there are many MD5 generators available online for free. All you need to do is enter the string or message for which you need a hash value, and the MD5 generator creates a 32-bit hexadecimal hash value for your message. Now you can send this message to the receiver and check whether the receiver can crack the message or not. You can also use it for saving passwords, credit card info, database information and for every character that you want to keep secure.
There might be some disadvantages from this hash algorithm as it provides security only for 128-bit fingerprint. But it comes handy when you use smaller strings, or for credit cards.
You can also learn about MD5 from online tutorials or the book Cryptography and Network Security.