What is MD5 next to my file download?

Why do I always see MD5 next to a file when I’m about to download? What do I need to do with it?Is it important?

MD5 (Message digest 5) is used for a variety of things, but what you are probably interested in is that it can be used to verify the integrity of a file.

Why would you want to do that? Well, to see if the orginal file has been altered in any way (eg malicious code intserted into it etc).

How does it work?

Download the file as well the the MD5 has key (which will be a long string of numbers)
Grab a MD5 checker (such as the one here), and paste the MD5 key into this as well as point the checker to your downloaded file.
The checker will tell you whether the MD5 matches ie. you have an unaltered file. Simple!

Oh, for all you nerds that want to know more about MD5, have a read of RFC1321 🙂

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