Paper 2024/604

Generic MitM Attack Frameworks on Sponge Constructions

Xiaoyang Dong, Tsinghua University
Boxin Zhao, Zhongguancun Laboratory, Beijing, P.R.China
Lingyue Qin, Tsinghua University
Qingliang Hou, Shandong University
Shun Zhang, PLA Strategic Support Force Information Engineering University
Xiaoyun Wang, Tsinghua University

This paper proposes general meet-in-the-middle (MitM) attack frameworks for preimage and collision attacks on hash functions based on (generalized) sponge construction. As the first contribution, our MitM preimage attack framework covers a wide range of sponge-based hash functions, especially those with lower claimed security level for preimage compared to their output size. Those hash functions have been very widely standardized (e.g., Ascon-Hash, PHOTON, etc.), but are rarely studied against preimage attacks. Even the recent MitM attack framework on sponge construction by Qin et al. (EUROCRYPT 2023) cannot attack those hash functions. As the second contribution, our MitM collision attack framework shows a different tool for the collision cryptanalysis on sponge construction, while previous collision attacks on sponge construction are mainly based on differential attacks. Most of the results in this paper are the first third-party cryptanalysis results. If cryptanalysis previously existed, our new results significantly improve the previous results, such as improving the previous 2-round collision attack on Ascon-Hash to the current 4 rounds, improving the previous 3.5-round quantum preimage attack on SPHINCS$^+$-Haraka to our 4-round classical preimage attack, etc.

Available format(s)
Attacks and cryptanalysis
Publication info
A major revision of an IACR publication in CRYPTO 2024
SpongeHash FunctionMitMCollisionPreimage
Contact author(s)
xiaoyangdong @ tsinghua edu cn
zhaobx @ mail zgclab edu cn
qinly @ tsinghua edu cn
xiaoyunwang @ tsinghua edu cn
2024-05-25: last of 3 revisions
2024-04-19: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Xiaoyang Dong and Boxin Zhao and Lingyue Qin and Qingliang Hou and Shun Zhang and Xiaoyun Wang},
      title = {Generic {MitM} Attack Frameworks on Sponge Constructions},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2024/604},
      year = {2024},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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