Hot answers tagged length-extension
Contrary to your assumption, this is done, and it is secure: For instance, the hash functions SHA-224 and SHA-384 are basically the same algorithms as SHA-256 and SHA-512! The only differences are in the initial values for the Merkle-Damgård construction used internally and, of course, in that only the first $224$ or $384$ bits of the resulting hash are ...
If $H(x) = x$, $x$ is a fixed point. If for a value the output of the function is the same as the input, it is called a fixed point. A length extension attack is unrelated to the concept of fixed points. There is a good question about understanding length extension attacks here.
Yes, if the length is formatted in a constant-size value (e.g. 64-bit field) or in an otherwise uniquely decodable manner. With such a length field, no hash input can be the the prefix of another valid input. Thus there is no length-extension attack. (Assumptions include that you reveal no intermediate values, of course.)
A length extension attack doesn't let you find a collision. It lets you predict the hash for an input with an unknown component in the prefix. If you have $h = H(x)$ for unknown (or partially unknown) $x$, you can generate $h_y = H(x \vert\vert y)$ for arbitrary $y$ (this is not strictly correct; I've ignored padding, but for the purposes of this discussion ...
No, there is no known way. It would actually be rather surprising if there were even a theoretical way; the SHA-256 and the SHA-512 compression functions are rather different (for one, one works with 32 bit words and the other works with 64 bit words); one wouldn't expect them to share any sort of relation.
But is it necessary to use these bytes? Yes, it is, at least for most messages that you'll see in practice. MD5 works by taking the message, and applying a fixed padding to it. This fixed padding involves, for messages which are a number of bytes (as opposed to, say, a message of 119 bits) an 0x80 byte, and for not huge messages, 0x00 bytes (in the ...
How can he do that? He could take api_signature = h = md5(m) and use it as the Initialization Vector of the hash function and hash the extra data and another padding. This is the idea behind the hash length_extension attack, isn't it? Correct. My question: The api_signature will change then because it is calculated like: md5(extra || padding) with ...
This answers a comment to Stephen Touset's fine answer. With SHA-256, or any collision-resistant hash, no known attack (including length extension) allows producing a file different from the original file and that has the same hash as the original, even if an adversary could choose the original. Even with the practically-broken MD5, or the broken SHA-1, no ...
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