ISA Extensions

Intel’s Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) continues to evolve and expand in functionality, enrich user experience, and create synergy across industries.

Intel® Secure Hash Algorithm Extensions (Intel® SHA Extensions)

The Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) is one of the most commonly employed cryptographic algorithms. Primary usages of SHA include data integrity, message authentication, digital signatures, and data de-duplication. As the pervasive use of security solutions continues to grow, SHA can be seen in more applications now than ever. The Intel® SHA Extensions are designed to improve the performance of these compute-intensive algorithms on Intel® architecture-based processors.

The Intel® SHA Extensions are a family of seven instructions based on the Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions (Intel® SSE) that are used together to accelerate the performance of processing SHA-1 and SHA-256 on Intel architecture-based processors. Given the growing importance of SHA in our everyday computing devices, the new instructions are designed to provide a needed boost of performance to hashing a single buffer of data. The performance benefits will not only help improve responsiveness and lower power consumption for a given application, they may enable developers to adopt SHA in new applications to protect data while delivering to their user experience goals. The instructions are defined in a way that simplifies their mapping into the algorithm processing flow of most software libraries, thus enabling easier development.

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