[zeromq-dev] Proposal for ZeroMQ certificate format

Pieter Hintjens ph at imatix.com
Tue Oct 15 19:59:00 CEST 2013

While I'm not defending MD5 at all, can a forgery m' have the same size as m?

As far as I can see, the signature has to be short enough to verify by
hand. SHA256 would produce 32 bytes; just the same as verifying the
CURVE key by hand.

On Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 7:22 PM, Tony Arcieri <bascule at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 6:16 AM, Pieter Hintjens <ph at imatix.com> wrote:
>> Nonetheless, I used MD5. The assertion is that collisions do not
>> matter here. I may be wrong.
> Collisions definitely matter here. What you're specifically worried about is
> second preimage resistance, that is: given m, find m' such that H(m) ==
> H(m'). This will allow you to reuse an existing (valid) digital signature
> for a forged certificate.
> It is known not just academically, but in practice, that MD5 does NOT have
> this property. See specifically how an MD5 collision was used by the Flame
> worm:
> http://trailofbits.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/flame-md5.pdf
>> SHA512 generates a 64-byte hash. That is not usable as a human
>> readable signature. We could use SHA1 then, but it's not secure.
> While SHA1 has known weaknesses, MD5 alone should simply not be used anymore
> when security matters (although HMAC-MD5 is arguably ok).
> If you're looking at the hash functions in libsodium, I'd recommend SHA256
> (which has no known weaknesses) or Blake2b. SHA256 has nearly ubiquitous
> support. Blake2b supports variable length output without fear of cycles (and
> therefore collisions) which could arise through naive hash truncation.
> I need to dig into your certificate format. I've only scanned over your
> post. So far it looks similar to mine, but with capital letters ;) Glad to
> see an ABNF grammar!
> --
> Tony Arcieri
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Pieter Hintjens
CEO of iMatix.com
Founder of ZeroMQ community
blog: http://hintjens.com

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