New Cryptanalytic Results Against SHA-1
Xiaoyun Wang, one of the team of Chinese cryptographers that successfully broke SHA-0 and SHA-1, along with Andrew Yao and Frances Yao, announced new results against SHA-1 yesterday at Crypto’s rump session. (Actually, Adi Shamir announced the results in their name, since she and her student did not receive U.S. visas in time to attend the conference.)
Shamir presented few details — and there’s no paper — but the time complexity of the new attack is 263. (Their previous result was 269; brute force is 280.) He did say that he expected Wang and her students to improve this result over the next few months. The modifications to their published attack are still new, and more improvements are likely over the next several months. There is no reason to believe that 263 is anything like a lower limit.
But an attack that’s faster than 264 is a significant milestone. We’ve already done massive computations with complexity 264. Now that the SHA-1 collision search is squarely in the realm of feasibility, some research group will try to implement it. Writing working software will both uncover hidden problems with the attack, and illuminate hidden improvements. And while a paper describing an attack against SHA-1 is damaging, software that produces actual collisions is even more so.
The story of SHA-1 is not over. Again, I repeat the saying I’ve heard comes from inside the NSA: “Attacks always get better; they never get worse.”
Meanwhile, NIST is holding a workshop in late October to discuss what the security community should do now. The NIST Hash Function Workshop should be interesting, indeed. (Here is one paper that examines the effect of these attacks on S/MIME, TLS, and IPsec.)
EDITED TO ADD: Here are Xiaoyun Wang’s two papers from Crypto this week: “Efficient Collision Search Attacks on SHA-0” and “Finding Collisions in the Full SHA-1Collision Search Attacks on SHA1.” And here are the rest of her papers.