A value used to ensure data are stored or transmitted without error. It is created by calculating the binary values in a block of data using some algorithm and storing the results with the data. When the data are retrieved from memory or received at the other end of a network, a new checksum is computed and matched against the existing checksum. A non-match indicates an error.
Just as a check digit tests the accuracy of a single number, a checksum tests a block of data. Checksums detect single bit errors and some multiple bit errors, but are not as effective as the CRC method. Checksums are also used by the Sophos antivirus software to determine if a file has changed since the last time it was scanned for a virus. See ECC memory