MD5(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual MD5(1)


md5, sha1, sha256, sha512, rmd160calculate a message-digest fingerprint (checksum) for a file


md5 [ -pqrtx][ -c string][ -s string][ file ...]

sha1 [ -pqrtx][ -c string][ -s string][ file ...]

sha256 [ -pqrtx][ -c string][ -s string][ file ...]

sha512 [ -pqrtx][ -c string][ -s string][ file ...]

rmd160 [ -pqrtx][ -c string][ -s string][ file ...]


The md5, sha1, sha256, sha512 and rmd160 utilities take as input a message of arbitrary length and produce as output a “fingerprint” or “message digest” of the input. It is conjectured that it is computationally infeasible to produce two messages having the same message digest, or to produce any message having a given prespecified target message digest. The MD5, SHA-1, SHA-256, SHA-512 and RIPEMD-160 algorithms are intended for digital signature applications, where a large file must be “compressed” in a secure manner before being encrypted with a private (secret) key under a public-key cryptosystem such as RSA.

MD5 has been completely broken as far as finding collisions is concerned, and should not be relied upon to produce unique outputs. This also means that MD5 should not be used as part of a cryptographic signature scheme. At the current time (2009-01-06) there is no publicly known method to “reverse” MD5, i.e., to find an input given a hash value.

SHA-1 currently (2009-01-06) has no known collisions, but an attack has been found which is faster than a brute-force search, placing the security of SHA-1 in doubt.

It is recommended that all new applications use SHA-256 instead of one of the other hash functions.

The following options may be used in any combination and must precede any files named on the command line. The hexadecimal checksum of each file listed on the command line is printed after the options are processed.

-c string
Compare files to this md5 string. (Note that this option is not yet useful if multiple files are specified.)
-s string
Print a checksum of the given string.
Echo stdin to stdout and append the checksum to stdout.
Quiet mode - only the checksum is printed out. Overrides the -r option.
Reverses the format of the output. This helps with visual diffs. Does nothing when combined with the -ptx options.
Run a built-in time trial.
Run a built-in test script.


The md5, sha1, sha256, sha512 and rmd160 utilities exit 0 on success, 1 if at least one of the input files could not be read, and 2 if at least one file does not have the same hash as the -c option.


cksum(1), md5(3), ripemd(3), sha(3), sha256(3), sha512(3)

R. Rivest, The MD5 Message-Digest Algorithm, RFC1321.

J. Burrows, The Secure Hash Standard, FIPS PUB 180-2.

D. Eastlake and P. Jones, US Secure Hash Algorithm 1, RFC 3174.

RIPEMD-160 is part of the ISO draft standard “ISO/IEC DIS 10118-3” on dedicated hash functions.

Secure Hash Standard (SHS): http://csrc.nist.gov/cryptval/shs.html.

The RIPEMD-160 page: http://www.esat.kuleuven.ac.be/~bosselae/ripemd160.html.


This program is placed in the public domain for free general use by RSA Data Security.

Support for SHA-1 and RIPEMD-160 has been added by Oliver Eikemeier <eik@FreeBSD.org>.

July 31, 2012 FreeBSD