Integrated-Key Cryptographic Hash Functions

  • Saif Al-Kuwari

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Cryptographic hash functions have always played a major role in most cryptographic applications. Traditionally, hash functions were designed in the keyless setting, where a hash function accepts a variable-length message and returns a fixed-length fingerprint. Unfortunately, over the years, significant weaknesses were reported on instances of some popular ``keyless" hash functions. This has motivated the research community to start considering the dedicated-key setting, where a hash function is publicly keyed. In this approach, families of hash functions are constructed such that the individual members are indexed by different publicly-known keys. This has, evidently, also allowed for more rigorous security arguments. However, it turns out that converting an existing keyless hash function into a dedicated-key one is usually non-trivial since the underlying keyless compression function of the keyless hash function does not normally accommodate the extra key input. In this thesis we define and formalise a flexible approach to solve this problem. Hash functions adopting our approach are said to be constructed in the integrated-key setting, where keyless hash functions are seamlessly and transparently transformed into keyed variants by introducing an extra component accompanying the (still keyless) compression function to handle the key input separately outside the compression function. We also propose several integrated-key constructions and prove that they are collision resistant, pre-image resistant, 2nd pre-image resistant, indifferentiable from Random Oracle (RO), indistinguishable from Pseudorandom Functions (PRFs) and Unforgeable when instantiated as Message Authentication Codes (MACs) in the private key setting. We further prove that hash functions constructed in the integrated-key setting are indistinguishable from their variants in the conventional dedicated-key setting, which implies that proofs from the dedicated-key setting can be naturally reduced to the integrated-key setting.
Date of Award1 Sept 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJames Davenport (Supervisor) & Russell Bradford (Supervisor)

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