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= Usage of hash functions =
Author: Daniel Otte
0. Foreword
This file will describe how to use the hash function implementations provided
by this library.
1. What a hash function does
A hash function is an algorithm to map an arbitrary long message (in the form
of a bit string) to a fixed length message digest or hash value.
The hash function aims to be collision free, which means that it is not
practicable to find two messages with the same hash value (although this
collision must exist). Also it should not be practicable to construct a
message which maps to a given hash value.
1.1. high frequent parameters:
block size: 512 bits
hash value size: 128 bits, 160 bits, 224 bits, 256 bits, 384 bits, 512 bits
2. Parts of a hash function
* initialization function
* compression algorithm
* finalization function
3. hash function API
The API is not always consistent due to the fact that we tried to optimize the
code for size (flash, heap and stack) and speed (runtime of the different
Generally the API of the implemented block ciphers consists of:
*_init function, which implements the initialisation of the context
*_nextBlock function, which implements the compression algorithm
*_lastBlock function, which implements the the padding algorithm
*_ctx2hash function, which turns a context into an actual hash value
*_ctx_t context type, which can contains the state of a hashing process
3.1 look at the prototypes
Generally the prototypes (defined in the *.h files) will tell you what
parameter means what.
3.1.2 sizes in bits and bytes
Working with cryptographic functions involves working with different
lengths. Some times you want to know it in bits and sometimes in bytes. To
reduce frustration and to avoid bugs we suffix a length parameter with either
_b or _B depending on the meaning. _b means in bits and _B means in bytes
(big b big word).
3.2. *_init function
The *_init function generally takes a pointer to the context as parameter.
This function initializes the context with algorithm specific values.
3.3. *_nextBlock function
The *_nextBlock function is the core of each hash function. It updates the hash
state with a given message block. So this function uses a context pointer and
a message pointer as parameters. The size of a message block is fixed for each
hash function (mostly 512 bit). For the last block of a messages which may be
smaller than the blocksize you have to use the *_lastBlock function described
3.4 *_lastBlock function
The *_lastBlock function finalizes the context with the last bits of a
message. Since the last block is not required to have the blocksize you have
to specify the length of the last block (normally in bits). This function
performs the padding and final processing.
3.5. *_ctx2hash function
The *_ctx2hash function turns a given hash context into an actual hash value.
If multiple sized hash value may be created from a context it is necessary to
give the the size of the hash value as parameter.