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This paper considers iterated hash functions. It proposes new constructions of fast and secure compression functions with nl-bit outputs for integers n>1 based on error-correcting codes and secure compression functions with l-bit outputs. This leads to simple and practical hash function constructions based on block ciphers such as the Data Encryption Standard (DES), where the key size is slightly smaller than the block size; IDEA, where the key size is twice the block size; Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), with a variable key size; and to MD4-like hash functions. Under reasonable assumptions about the underlying compression function and/or block cipher, it is proved that the new hash functions are collision resistant. More precisely, a lower bound is shown on the number of operations to find a collision as a function of the strength of the underlying compression function. Moreover, some new attacks are presented that essentially match the presented lower bounds. The constructions allow for a large degree of internal parallelism. The limits of this approach are studied in relation to bounds derived in coding theory.
Date of Publication: Sep 2002