In this paper, we propose an improved cryptanalysis of the double-branch hash function RIPEMD-160 standardized by ISO/IEC. We show how to theoretically calculate the step differential probability of RIPEMD-160, which was stated as an open problem by Mendel et al. at ASIACRYPT 2013. Secondly, based on the method proposed by Mendel et al. to automatically find a differential path of RIPEMD-160, we construct a 30-step differential path where the left branch is sparse and the right branch is controlled as sparse as possible. To ensure the message modification techniques can be applied to RIPEMD-160, some extra bit conditions should be pre-deduced and well controlled. These extra bit conditions are used to ensure that the modular difference can be correctly propagated. This way, we can find a collision of 30-step RIPEMD-160 with complexity 267. This is the first collision attack on round-reduced RIPEMD-160. Moreover, by a different choice of the message words to merge two branches and adding some conditions to the starting point, the semi-free-start collision attack on the first 36-step RIPEMD-160 from ASIACRYPT 2013 can be improved by a factor of 215.3 to 255.1.
Fukang Liu, Florian Mendel, Gaoli Wang: Collisions and Semi-Free-Start Collisions for Round-Reduced RIPEMD-160. ASIACRYPT 2017