Let's say I need performance on 64-bit machine, then SHA3-512 is the way to go.
SHA-512/256(x) is SHA-512(x) with output truncated to 256 bits, according to https://pycryptodome.readthedocs.io/en/latest/src/hash/sha512.html

Let H1(x) be SHA-512/256(SHA-512(SHA-512(x)))
Let H2(x) be SHA-256(SHA-512(SHA-512(x)))

Is H1 safer than H2?

Is there a way to truncate SHA3-512 like SHA-512/256 does that?
Is SHAKE-256 with 256 bits output size the solution?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Could you stop for a while and think and express your actual question? Who does need the triple hashing? Why a single SHA3, BLAKE2 is not enough for you? Your next question will be quadruple hashing? and next, next, and going to ask is there a cycle at the end? Are you afraid that one is going to be broken in the far future? Very improbable... BLAKE2 is the way to go for performance not SHA3-512. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ My questions are mostly unrelated $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, they are mostly related. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ Not in a way you think they are. There is no actual question to express that stands behind all of them. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ Let say I need so what is your actual need? SHA3-512 is the way to go then why ask triple hashing instead of providing your actual target security with risks? SHA3-512 like SHA-512/256, there is no need by design thanks to sponge construction. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


Truncating SHA3-512 to 256 produces an excellent wide pipe 256 bit hash functions and is definitely reasonable and IMHO the top choice when looking for a general purpose 256 bit hash function.

There may be faster options but it's pretty fast.

Triple hashing like you suggest doesn't seem to be suitable for any purpose I know of. And the question doesn't suggest why you may think such a structure with any hash function as a base is a good idea for any purpose.

In particular it is easy to see such a construction preserves all collisions from the base hash function and adds more in repeat invocations. Such triple hashing is strictly less collision resistant than any of the original hash functions.

  • $\begingroup$ Firstly, what do you mean by truncating, taking first or second 256 bits, or some specific operation like the one used in SHA-512/256. Also I understood a few things recently so I can make my question more precise. Let's say I have a password hash function PH(x), I need to keep as much preimage resistance as possible, while also I need the output to be 256 bits, should I then: use PH(x) in 256 bit variant, or "reduce" the output of PH(x) in 512 bit variant through some 256 bit hash function like SHA-256? (SHA-256(PH(x))) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @KubaChrabański learn the distinction between a password hashing function and collision resistance hashing like SHAx... We want them fast, Password hashing algorithms are designed to be slow, memory-hard, thread consuming. Though some include SHA-256 or similar in their design the target aim is different. Of course, the pre-image resistance is important in password hashing, however, don't expect them to be broken in their collision resistance, too. $\endgroup$
    – kelalaka
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ When we do iterated hashing we like in pbkdf we keep mixing in the original input, to prevent the domain getting smaller and smaller with each iteration. Do not build your own password hashing scheme. Use something already designed for that purpose. As for how to truncate? It's not important all methods work. $\endgroup$
    – Meir Maor
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ @kelalaka maybe you should stop for a while. That was not my question at all $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MeirMaor I'm obviously not gonna build my own password hashing function (PH(x)), I just need it's output to be 256 bits, and I wonder if I can use PH[512](x) and truncate the output (if so then how), or put the output through normal hash function like SHA3-256, and still have any benefit from using 512 bit variant of PH $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 18:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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