Advanced Meet-in-the-Middle Preimage Attacks: First Results on Full Tiger, and Improved Results on MD4 and SHA-2

Abstract

We revisit narrow-pipe designs that are in practical use, and their security against preimage attacks. Our results are the best known preimage attacks on Tiger, MD4, and reduced SHA-2, with the result on Tiger being the first cryptanalytic shortcut attack on the full hash function. Our attacks runs in time 2188.8 for finding preimages, and 2188.2 for second-preimages. Both have memory requirement of order 28, which is much less than in any other recent preimage attacks on reduced Tiger. Using pre-computation techniques, the time complexity for finding a new preimage or second-preimage for MD4 can now be as low as 278.4 and 269.4 MD4 computations, respectively. The second-preimage attack works for all messages longer than 2 blocks.

To obtain these results, we extend the meet-in-the-middle framework recently developed by Aoki and Sasaki in a series of papers. In addition to various algorithm-specific techniques, we use a number of conceptually new ideas that are applicable to a larger class of constructions. Among them are (1) incorporating multi-target scenarios into the MITM framework, leading to faster preimages from pseudo-preimages, (2) a simple precomputation technique that allows for finding new preimages at the cost of a single pseudo-preimage, and (3) probabilistic initial structures, to reduce the attack time complexity. All the techniques developed await application to other hash functions. To illustrate this, we give as another example improved preimage attacks on SHA-2 members.