Automating Collision Attacks on RIPEMD-160


  • Yingxin Li Shanghai Key Laboratory of Trustworthy Computing, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
  • Fukang Liu Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan
  • Gaoli Wang Shanghai Key Laboratory of Trustworthy Computing, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China



Semi-free-start collision, collision, RIPEMD-160, SAT/SMT


As an ISO/IEC standard, the hash function RIPEMD-160 has been used to generate the Bitcoin address with SHA-256. However, due to the complex doublebranch structure of RIPEMD-160, the best collision attack only reaches 36 out of 80 steps of RIPEMD-160, and the best semi-free-start (SFS) collision attack only reaches 40 steps. To improve the 36-step collision attack proposed at EUROCRYPT 2023, we explored the possibility of using different message differences to increase the number of attacked steps, and we finally identified one choice allowing a 40-step collision attack. To find the corresponding 40-step differential characteristic, we re-implement the MILP-based method to search for signed differential characteristics with SAT/SMT. As a result, we can find a colliding message pair for 40-step RIPEMD-160 in practical time, which significantly improves the best collision attack on RIPEMD-160. For the best SFS collision attack published at ToSC 2019, we observe that the bottleneck is the probability of the right-branch differential characteristics as they are fully uncontrolled in the message modification. To address this issue, we utilize our SAT/SMT-based tool to search for high-probability differential characteristics for the right branch. Consequently, we can mount successful SFS collision attacks on 41, 42 and 43 steps of RIPEMD-160, thus significantly improving the SFS collision attacks. In addition, we also searched for a 44-step differential characteristic, but the differential probability is too low to allow a meaningful SFS collision attack.




How to Cite

Li, Y., Liu, F., & Wang, G. (2023). Automating Collision Attacks on RIPEMD-160. IACR Transactions on Symmetric Cryptology, 2023(4), 112–142.