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I was reading a post in Troy Hunt's blog (, about a feature called "Pwned Passwords" that checks if your password is in a database with more than 1 billion leaked passwords.

To do this check without passing your password, the client code hash it and pass just the first five chars of this hash, the backend returns all the sha1 hashes of the passwords that starts with the prefix that you passed. Then, to check if the hash of your password is in the database or not, the comparison is made on client code.

And he put some info about the data of these hashed passwords...

  1. Every hash prefix from 00000 to FFFFF is populated with data (16^5 combinations)
  2. The average number of hashes returned is 478
  3. The smallest is 381 (hash prefixes "E0812" and "E613D")
  4. The largest is 584 (hash prefixes "00000" and "4A4E8")

In the comments, people was wondering if the presence of this "00000" is a coincidence or is math...

Could someone that understands the SHA1 algorithm explain it to us?

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