A cryptographic hash algorithm is a function which takes a variable size input and produces a fixed size output. The algorithm makes it difficult to predict the output for a given input, find two inputs with the same output, or reconstruct the input from the output.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

10
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I calculate the SHA-256 “midstate”?

Recently I've been trying to implement some Bitcoin-related code, and I've stumbled upon a weird concept, a SHA-256 "midstate". Some explanation is given here. The general concept is that Bitcoin ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Is HMAC-DRBG or Hash-DRBG stronger?

Out of the two deterministic random bit generators defined in section 10.1 of NIST SP 800-90A (i.e. based on hash functions), which one is cryptographically stronger? Hash-DRBG (Section 10.1.1) ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Strength of multiple hash iterations?

Is it correct that increasing the iteration possibly decreases the cipher strength but increases the amount of time it would take to find the original hash values if using brute-force on a given hash? ...
10
votes
1answer
768 views

Using SHA-256 with different initial hash value

FIPS 180-3 defines the initial hash value for SHA-256 as the first 32 bits of the fractional parts of the square roots of the first 8 primes 2..19. What would be the risks of using a different value ...
10
votes
1answer
430 views

Hash function from narrower block cipher operated in CBC-encryption mode?

I am trying to build a public hash function (thus collision-resistant and preimage-resistant, and more generally behaving like a random oracle), with input a message $M$ of fixed size $|M|=m\cdot b$ ...
10
votes
1answer
319 views

Which MACs can be converted into a secure unkeyed hash function?

It is known that setting the secret key to a fixed, public value does not make MACs like CBC-MAC or GMAC into secure unkeyed cryptographic hash functions that could be used - for instance - for ...
9
votes
3answers
577 views

Counter mode secure hash algorithm

Ever since the SHA-3 competition, I've been wondering if it is possible to create a hash algorithm that is easier to parallelize. The current algorithms all seem to require building a tree of hashes. ...
9
votes
2answers
264 views

Why would you expect to find a collision in a hash function after approximately $\sqrt{n}$ hashes?

I can't get an intuitive understanding of why it's $2^{(\frac{n}{2})}$ and not $2^n$, where $n$ is the number of bits of which the key consists.
9
votes
1answer
378 views

Can one efficiently iterate valid bcrypt hash output values?

bcrypt is an intentionally slow hash algorithm. In my last protocol idea, I wanted to use it to expand a password and then only transfer the bcrypt-hashed password. An efficient attack on this would ...
9
votes
1answer
4k views

How does a birthday attack on a hashing algorithm work?

A "normal", brute-force attack on a cryptographic hashing algorithm $H$ should have a complexity of about $2^{n}$ for a hash algorithm with an output length of $n$ bits. That means it takes about ...
9
votes
1answer
245 views

Why does Skein use an output transform, but other similar hashes don't?

Skein uses an additional compression function call to finalize the output, even when the output isn't larger than the native output size. The Skein paper says: Due to Skein’s output ...
8
votes
7answers
675 views

Turning a cipher into a hashing function

This is theoretical question. I'd like to know if it's possible (and what are eventually the consequences), not that I'm going to do it in one of my projects. ;) The first hashing functions created ...
8
votes
6answers
808 views

How can I improve a password generation scheme based on a shared secret and URL?

I currently use the following method to generate a different password on every website I have to login: password = SHA1 ( mainPassword . domainName . number ) ...
8
votes
4answers
308 views

Using hashes as passwords

I have thought of a system for generating passwords which works as follows: Take the following items: A password, such as williamwallace. A secret 1000 digit ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Pre-image resistant but not 2nd pre-image resistant?

Are there any cryptographic hash functions for which there is a known pre-image attack, or a known second pre-image attack, but not both? The attack doesn't have to be practical - just anything that ...
8
votes
1answer
154 views

Can Skein be used as a secure MAC in format H(k || m)?

Can Skein be used as a secure MAC in format H(k || m)? I understand it can work with HMAC, but it is fine as a one-pass MAC in the format above and resists length extension attacks. Is this ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are the constants so simple in Keccak?

Keccak, the construction selected for SHA-3 is very interesting. It seems unlike other primitives and has chosen very simple constants. (Keccak talk PDF) The initial values of the state in Keccak is ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Use of salt to hash a password

In a few implementations of hashed passwords, I have seen that the length of the random salt is chosen to be, say, 10 or "some constant". Is there any specific reason why the salt is chosen to have a ...
8
votes
2answers
797 views

What is a hard-core predicate?

I read this article on Wikipedia: Hard-core predicate. Still I don't understand what exactly is a hard-core predicate. Is it possible to put this in simple English terminology, and perhaps with a ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How is SHA1 different from MD5?

On the surface, SHA1 and MD5 look pretty similar. Their diagrams include chunks of bits, bit rotation, xor and special functions. Their implementations are roughly the same length (at least the ones ...
8
votes
2answers
526 views

Why xor the message into the state for sponge hashes?

Sponge hashes like Keccak(SHA-3) and CubeHash, xor a message block into part of the internal state. Why use a reversible operation like xor for that, instead of replacing that part of the state with ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

From hash to Cryptographic hash

After reading some excellent papers on SipHash, I understood that good non-cryptographic hashes such as MurmurHash and CityHash are not secure for MAC usage, due to a certain type of DDos attack ...
8
votes
2answers
610 views

Is bcrypt better than GnupPG's iterated+salted hashing method?

GnuPG has slow hash built-in in form of iterated+salted S2K. Does it have disadvantages in comparance with bcrypt or scrypt? Is GnuPG's slow hash method easily automated in GPUs?
8
votes
1answer
490 views

Compressing EC private keys

For reasonable security, EC private keys are typically 256-bits. Shorter EC private keys are not sufficiently secure. However, shorter symmetric keys (128-bits, for example) are comparably secure. I ...
8
votes
1answer
527 views

Why restricting SHA3 to have only two possible capacities?

I just read the presentation slides of John M. Kesley (from NIST) for his invited talk at CHES 2013 about SHA-3 and learned that NIST is going to standardize Keccak with a possibly modified padding ...
8
votes
1answer
958 views

What's the difference between a Key Derivation Function and a Password-Hash?

It seems to me that anything that was sufficiently good as a KDF would work just fine as a password hash, though the reverse might not be true. Are there considerations specific to password-hashing ...
8
votes
1answer
823 views

Change in probability of collision when removing digits from MD5 hexadecimal hash values

I am aware that MD5 has a known collision vulnerability and should not be relied upon when uniqueness is required, but in the environment I am working on I only have access to MD5 hash function. ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is a second preimage attack on MD5 feasible?

What's the practical status of MD5 w.r.t. second-preimage? Integrity of a piece of data is protected by an MD5 hash, itself assumed genuine. The data (and thus the hash) is known to the adversary. ...
8
votes
1answer
353 views

Cryptographically secure keyed rolling hash function

I could not find any mention on the Internet of a proven/known cryptographically secure keyed rolling hash function (ie rolling MAC). Has the question been studied, is it possible to build one ? By ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it feasible to build a stream cipher from a cryptographic hash function?

A few years ago I devised a symmetric-key system that worked like so: ...
7
votes
3answers
442 views

Is it safe to use file's hash as IV?

I'm encrypting some files using AES in CBC mode. I'm also using file's digest (SHA-1) to check that data is decrypted correctly (so I need to store it with file). Is it safe to use this digest as ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Why hash the message before signing it? Digital signature with RSA

Here's a method to sign the message with RSA: Why hash the data before signing it? Why not sign the whole message? It'll save time if you sign the hash value, but I've heard there are also security ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Why hash or salt when signing?

I've seen an example of how to sign using RSA. Besides the signing itself (s = m^d mod n) it also hashes and adds an IV. Why is that needed?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Can I find two specific words with the same md5 hash?

I want to find two strings containing special words like "yes" or "no", mixed with random characters, for which the MD5 hash is equal. An example of what I'm looking for: ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

In the SHA hash algorithm, why is the message always padded?

In the SHA hash algorithm the message is always padded, even if initially the correct length without padding; the padding is of the form "1" followed by the necessary number of 0s. Why is it ...
7
votes
2answers
645 views

Is the encryption of a hash a good MAC?

At university we were told that it is a bad idea to implement a MAC by simply concatenating a key with the data to sign and to run it through a hash function (e.g. $s = ...
7
votes
2answers
243 views

Why have hashes when you have MACs?

It would seem to a naive eye that if you have a MAC, you have a hash function: use a key that all the parties know (such as all-bits-zero). A potential application would be a resource-constrained ...
7
votes
2answers
503 views

What is the purpose of using different hash functions for the leaves and internals of a hash tree?

I just learned that the THEX hash tree specification which is widely used in P2P requires that two different hash functions be used: one for the leaf nodes (hashes of input data) and one for the ...
7
votes
1answer
482 views

Is it possible to actually verify a “sponge function” security claim?

When using a “sponge function” to create a cryptographic hash, we can look at the flat sponge claim, which flattens the claimed success probabilities of all attacks using a single parameter: the ...
7
votes
1answer
358 views

Why x00 is usually avoided in salt?

In .NET Framework, there is a cryptographic Random Number Generator (RNG) provider which enables to generate a cryptographically strong sequence of random bytes. This provider contain, among others, ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Accelerating SHA-1

I have a program where computing SHA-1 is the bottleneck. This is using OpenSSL 1.0.0e on a 2.6Ghz 16-core Opteron where I get about 325MiB/s throughput. (SHA1 here is via Andy Polyakov's x86-64 ...
7
votes
2answers
451 views

Key Length & Hashing

I need to use a hash function to generate a 128-bit key for a symmetric cipher. The specific cipher is from the eStream portofolio, called Rabbit. I am using the SRP protocol for authentication (a ...
7
votes
1answer
384 views

Why are the initial states of hashes functions (like SHA-1) often non-zero?

There is already a question asking "Why initialize SHA1 with specific buffer?" and my question follows on from this: Why are the initial states of hash functions often non-zero? For most, I have ...
7
votes
2answers
314 views

Finding hash almost-collisions

A few months ago, XKCD posted a challenge to find a plaintext which hashed (using Skein 1024 1024) to a specified value. Inputs were scored based on the hamming distance between the hash of the ...
7
votes
2answers
218 views

Is there any research on the problem of making a number more memorable to humans?

Authentication protocols often rely on humans dealing with large numbers correctly. For example, when a user logs into a remote machine using SSH for the first time, she is prompted to confirm that ...
7
votes
2answers
314 views

Why does HOTP use such a complex truncate function?

In the HOTP protocol after calculating a 20 byte hash it is truncated to 4 bytes. For this first an offset is calculated (low-order 4 bits of the last byte) which determines the four bytes to be ...
7
votes
2answers
213 views

Definition of “pepper” in hash functions

I am confused about the notion of "pepper" in the context of storing hashes of users' passwords. Definition 1: A pepper is a secret key Looking around the Internet, for example here or here, a ...
7
votes
1answer
815 views

In which situations is a length-extension attack a problem?

A lot of hash functions, including the SHA-2 family(but not the SHA-3 candidates and SHA256d) are vulnerable to length extension attacks. But when is this property a problem? I guess certain naive ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the recommended replacement for MD5?

Since MD5 is broken for purposes of security, what hash should I be using now for secure applications?
6
votes
4answers
412 views

Does MD5 generate 128 independent bits?

I heard that there are 128 stochastically independent bits in an MD5 output. Is that true? If so, are there any citations or proofs for that?