# Provably good codes for hash function design

## Abstract

A new technique to lower-bound the minimum distance of certain types of quasi-cyclic codes with large dimension by reducing the problem to lower-bounding the minimum distance of a few significantly smaller codes has been developed. These codes have the property that they have extremely efficient software encoders. Using this technique, it is proved that a code which is similar to the SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm, to be explained shortly) message expansion code has minimum distance 82, and that too in just the last 64 of the 80 expanded words. In fact, the proposed code has much greater distance than that of SHA-1 code, which makes our proposed hashing scheme robust against cryptographic attacks. The technique is further used to find the minimum weight of the SHA-1 code itself (25 in last 60 words), which was an open problem. Estimating minimum distance of a code given by its parity-check matrix is well known to be a hard problem. Our technique is expected to be helpful in estimating minimum distance of similar codes as well as in designing future practical cryptographic hash functions. © 2009 IEEE.