Speeding up detection of SHA-1 collision attacks using unavoidable attack conditions


Marc Stevens, CWI; Daniel Shumow, Microsoft Research


Counter-cryptanalysis, the concept of using cryptanalytic techniques to detect cryptanalytic attacks, was introduced at CRYPTO 2013 [23] with a hash collision detection algorithm. That is, an algorithm that detects whether a given single message is part of a colliding message pair constructed using a cryptanalytic collision attack on MD5 or SHA-1.

Unfortunately, the original collision detection algorithm is not a low-cost solution as it costs 15 to 224 times more than a single hash computation. In this paper we present a significant performance improvement for collision detection based on the new concept of unavoidable conditions. Unavoidable conditions are conditions that are necessary for all feasible attacks in a certain attack class. As such they can be used to quickly dismiss particular attack classes that may have been used in the construction of the message. To determine an unavoidable condition one must rule out any feasible variant attack where this condition might not be necessary, otherwise adversaries aware of counter-cryptanalysis could easily bypass this improved collision detection with a carefully chosen variant attack. Based on a conjecture solidly supported by the current state of the art, we show how we can determine such unavoidable conditions for SHA-1.

We have implemented the improved SHA-1 collision detection using such unavoidable conditions and which is more than 20 times faster than without our unavoidable condition improvements. We have measured that overall our implemented SHA-1 with collision detection is only a factor 1.60 slower, on average, than SHA-1. With the demonstration of a SHA-1 collision, the algorithm presented here has been deployed by Git, GitHub, Google Drive, Gmail, Microsoft OneDrive and others, showing the effectiveness of this technique.

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@inproceedings {203858,
author = {Marc Stevens and Daniel Shumow},
title = {Speeding up detection of {SHA-1} collision attacks using unavoidable attack conditions},
booktitle = {26th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 17)},
year = {2017},
isbn = {978-1-931971-40-9},
address = {Vancouver, BC},
pages = {881--897},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity17/technical-sessions/presentation/stevens},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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