In standard secret-suffix fashion, assume we compute the PRF of some message $m$ as $MD5(x || k)$. Preneel and Van Oorschot showed in [1] that this secret-suffix method is unsatisfactory for constructing a secure MAC. (Particularly because MD5 is not collision resistant and therefore the scheme is susceptible to forgeries.) But does that also mean this is not a secure PRF?

[1] http://people.scs.carleton.ca/~paulv/papers/Crypto95.pdf

  • $\begingroup$ This isn't a homework question -- and I am aware of both facts. I guess the answer is "yes" by virtue of contrapositive equivalence. That is, if PRF => MAC is true then ~MAC => ~PRF is also true. I just needed a sanity check. :) $\endgroup$ – caw Oct 3 '16 at 18:55

The collision resistance of MD5 is fully broken, for 2 rounds, or even just 1 round. If follows that we can exhibit distinct 1024-bit or even 512-bit $x_0$, $x_1$ such that for any $k$, $\operatorname{MD5}(x_0||k)=\operatorname{MD5}(x_1||k)$.

This allows to make a near-perfect distinguisher between the PRF (family) parametrized by $k$: $x\to\operatorname{MD5}(x||k)$, and a random oracle; thus breaking that PRF.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yep -- I acknowledged this in my comment above. As I mentioned, I just needed a sanity check. Thank you for your (second) response. $\endgroup$ – caw Oct 3 '16 at 20:09

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