HMAC stands for Keyed-Hashing for Message Authentication. It’s a message authentication code obtained by running a cryptographic hash function (like MD5, SHA1, and SHA256) over the data (to be authenticated) and a shared secret key. HMAC is specified in RFC 2104.

HMACs are almost similar to digital signatures. They both enforce integrity and authenticity. They both use cryptography keys. And they both employ hash functions. The main difference is that digital signatures use asymmetric keys, while HMACs use symmetric keys (no public key).

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