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SHA1 can be used for error detecting just like CRC32, but with much stronger message integrity guarantee (though not as strong as SHA-256). SHA1 can also be used for generating random bits. This can be done by instantiating NIST-SP-800-90Ar1 Hash_DRBG and HMAC_DRBG with SHA1 and HMAC-SHA1 respectively. SHA1 can also be used in key derivation functions. ...


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Big picture is: the hash is used to turn the "combined key" of the question into symmetric keys used in a protocol. That's useful because the "combined key" is not a uniformly random bitstring, and because multiple keys with no exploitable dependence are needed. Quoting RFC4253: The "diffie-hellman-group1-sha1" method ...


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