Throwback Thursday: Hash Woes

Posted by   Helen Martin on   Mar 10, 2016

Just last week, VB Editor Martijn Grooten addressed an audience at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on the topic of cryptographic protocols that have supposedly been broken in recent years, including the SHA-1 hash function which is considered all but broken.

Back in 2004, the entire crypto community was abuzz with the astonishing news that a group of Chinese researchers had demonstrated a hash collision in the widely used MD5 hash function.

Throwback-Thursday-VB.jpg

In October 2004, VB's Technical Editor, Morton Swimmer, and his colleague Jonathan Poritz took a closer look at the situation, providing a background to the use of hash functions, the breaking of MD4 and the downfall of MD5, and considering what lessons could be drawn from the incident.

Interestingly, they did suggest that "applications like SSL may [...] be secure enough" against collision attacks, because creating a fake but valid certificate is many times more complicated than creating a collision. A fake SSL certificate was successfully created during the Chaos Communication Congress in 2008 and in 2012 it was found that the Flame malware had used this to fake Microsoft's digital signature.

The full 'Hash Woes' report can be read here in HTML format or downloaded here as a PDF.

 

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
googleplus.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

What kind of people attend Virus Bulletin conferences?

If you are considering submitting a proposal for a talk to VB2018 and you're not familiar with the event, you may find it useful to know what kind of people attend the conference.

Olympic Games target of malware, again

An unattributed malware attack has disrupted some computer systems of the 2018 Winter Olympics. In 1994, a computer virus also targeted the Winter Olympics.

There are lessons to be learned from government websites serving cryptocurrency miners

Thousands of websites, including many sites of government organisations in the UK, the US and Sweden, were recently found to have been serving a cryptocurrency miner. More interesting than the incident itself, though, are the lessons that can be…

We need to continue the debate on the ethics and perils of publishing security research

An article by security researcher Collin Anderson reopens the debate on whether publishing threat analyses is always in the public interest.

WordPress users urged to manually update to fix bug that prevents automatic updating

Users of the popular WordPress content management system are urged to manually update their installation to version 4.9.4, as a bug in the previous version broke the ability to automatically install updates.