International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Time-Space Tradeoffs and Short Collisions in Merkle-Damgård Hash Functions

Akshima , University of Chicago
David Cash , University of Chicago
Andrew Drucker , University of Chicago
Hoeteck Wee , CNRS, ENS, PSL and NTT Research
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-56784-2_6 (login may be required)
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Presentation: Slides
Conference: CRYPTO 2020
Abstract: We study collision-finding against Merkle-Damgård hashing in the random-oracle model by adversaries with an arbitrary $S$-bit auxiliary advice input about the random oracle and $T$ queries. Recent work showed that such adversaries can find collisions (with respect to a random IV) with advantage $\Omega(ST^2/2^n)$, where $n$ is the output length, beating the birthday bound by a factor of $S$. These attacks were shown to be optimal. We observe that the collisions produced are very long, on the order $T$ blocks, which would limit their practical relevance. We prove several results related to improving these attacks to find short collisions. We first exhibit a simple attack for finding $B$-block-long collisions achieving advantage $\tilde{\Omega}(STB/2^n)$. We then study if this attack is optimal. We show that the prior technique based on the bit-fixing model (used for the $ST^2/2^n$ bound) provably cannot reach this bound, and towards a general result we prove there are qualitative jumps in the optimal attacks for finding length $1$, length $2$, and unbounded-length collisions. Namely, the optimal attacks achieve (up to logarithmic factors) order of $(S+T)/2^n$, $ST/2^n$ and $ST^2/2^n$ advantage. We also give an upper bound on the advantage of a restricted class of short-collision finding attacks via a new analysis on the growth of trees in random functional graphs that may be of independent interest.
Video from CRYPTO 2020
  title={Time-Space Tradeoffs and Short Collisions in Merkle-Damgård Hash Functions},
  author={ Akshima and David Cash and Andrew Drucker and Hoeteck Wee},