Uniquely identifying each & every html template

Dave Angel d at davea.name
Thu Jan 24 01:53:28 CET 2013

On 01/23/2013 07:39 PM, Chris Angelico wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM, Dave Angel <d at davea.name> wrote:
>> I certainly can't disagree that it's easy to produce a very long hash that
>> isn't at all secure.  But I would disagree that longer hashes
>> *automatically* reduce chances of collision.
> Sure. But by and large, longer hashes give you a better chance at
> avoiding collisions.
> Caveat: I am not a cryptography expert. My statements are based on my
> own flawed understanding of what's going on. I use the stuff but I
> don't invent it.
>> Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptographic_hash_function
>> seems to say that there are four requirements.
>> it is easy to compute the hash value for any given message
>> it is infeasible to generate a message that has a given hash
>> it is infeasible to modify a message without changing the hash
>> it is infeasible to find two different messages with the same hash
>> Seems to me a small hash wouldn't be able to meet the last 3 conditions.
> True, but the definition of "small" is tricky. Of course the one-byte
> hash I proposed isn't going to be difficult to break, since you can
> just brute-force a bunch of message changes until you find one that
> has the right hash.
> But it's more about the cascade effect - that any given message has
> equal probability of having any of the possible hashes. Make a random
> change, get another random hash. So for a perfect one-byte hash, you
> have exactly one chance in 256 of getting any particular hash.
> By comparison, a simple/naive hash that just XORs together all the
> byte values fails these checks. Even if you take the message 64 bytes
> at a time (thus producing a 512-bit hash), you'll still be insecure,
> because it's easy to predict what hash you'll get after making a
> particular change.
> This property of the hash doesn't change as worldwide computing power
> improves. A hashing function might go from being "military-grade
> security" to being "home-grade security" to being "two-foot fence
> around your property", while still being impossible to predict without
> brute-forcing. But when an algorithm is found that generates
> collisions faster than the hash size indicates, it effectively reduces
> the hash size to the collision rate - MD5 is 128-bit, but (if I
> understand the Wikipedia note correctly) a known attack cuts that to
> 20.96 bits of "real hash size". So MD5 is still better than a perfect
> 16-bit hash, but not as good as a perfect 32-bit hash. (And on today's
> hardware, that's not good enough.)
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collision_resistant
> ChrisA

Thanks.  I've read a lot about encryption and data compression (two 
overlapping fields), and done some amateurish work (first time was 1975) 
that was just to keep something secret, not to be especially secure.  I 
find the field fascinating, but have never needed to do anything 
particularly secure for a real product.


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