A cryptographic hash function is a special class of hash function that has certain properties which make it suitable for use in cryptography. It is a mathematical algorithm that maps data of arbitrary size to a bit string of a fixed size (a hash function) which is designed to also be a one-way function, that is, a function which is infeasible to invert. In this article, let us understand one such type of hashing with variable hash size.

Traditional **RSA Signature schemes** are based on the following sequence of steps:

- Obtain the message to be digitally signed –
**M** - Use SHA or some other hashing algorithm to generate the message digest –
**H = Hash(M)** - Encrypt the message digest using the signer’s private key. The encryption results is the signature of the message –
**S = E(PrivateKey, H)**

One potential deficit in the above-illustrated scheme is that the **RSA system ends up being underutilized**. Let us assume that the RSA modulus is of the order of *2048 *bits. This means that the input can be any value with up to *2048* bits. However, in the signature scheme, the input to the RSA system is consistently the same size, the size of the hash-digest. Therefore, if, for instance, **SHA-512** is being utilized in the signature scheme, all inputs to the RSA function will consistently be 512 bits. This leaves the majority (**> 99%** in this case) of the RSA input space unutilized. This has the effect of reducing the overall security level of the RSA system as a result of the input space underutilization.

The **Full Domain Hashing** (FDH) scheme in RSA Signature schemes mitigates this underutilization by hashing the message onto the full domain of the RSA cryptosystem. The goal of FDH, therefore, is:

Hash a message using a function whose image-size/digest-size equals the size of the RSA modulus

The two basic approaches to realize a function which can produce an arbitrary size digest are:

- Repeatedly hashing the message (with slight modifications) and concatenating
- Using an
**eXtendible Output Function (XOF)**hashing methods

__Repeated Hashing with Concatenation__

Although traditional hashing algorithms such as SHA1, SHA256, SHA512 do not nearly have the sufficient range to cover the input domains of RSA systems, we can construct a full domain hashing method through the repeated application of these hash functions. The standard hash function, say SHA512, is applied to the message repeatedly, concatenating the results each time. This is done until the requisite number of bits is achieved.

To introduce the randomized behaviour of hash functions, instead of hashing the same message repeatedly, some modifications are introduced to the message at each iteration before performing the hashing. An example of such a modification would be to concatenate the iteration count to the message, before hashing. Thus, an FDH function is realized as:

If the SHA512 hash was computed and concatenated **N** times, the overall hash will have a bit size of **N * 512**. Assuming that this value is greater than the required number, **‘K’**, of bits, we can extract the leading **K** bits to obtain the desired length hash.

Below is the implementation of the above approach:

## Python3

`# Python program to demonstrate` `# repeated hashing with` `# concatenation` `import` `binascii` `from` `math ` `import` `ceil` `from` `hashlib ` `import` `sha256` `# Function to perform Full Domain` `# Hash of 'message' using` `# SHA512 with a digest of` `# N bits` `def` `fdh(message, n):` ` ` ` ` `result ` `=` `[]` ` ` `# Produce enough SHA512 digests` ` ` `# to make a composite digest` ` ` `# greater than or equal to N bits` ` ` `for` `i ` `in` `range` `(ceil(n ` `/` `256` `)):` ` ` `# Append iteration count` ` ` `# to the message` ` ` `currentMsg ` `=` `str` `(message) ` `+` `str` `(i)` ` ` `# Add current hash to results list` ` ` `result.append(sha256((currentMsg).encode()).hexdigest())` ` ` `# Append all the computed hashes` ` ` `result ` `=` `''.join(result)` ` ` `# Obtaining binary representating` ` ` `resAsBinary ` `=` `'` `'.join(format(ord(x), '` `b') ` `for` `x ` `in` `result)` ` ` `# Trimming the hash to the` ` ` `# required size by taking` ` ` `# only the leading bits` ` ` `resAsBinary ` `=` `resAsBinary[:n]` ` ` `# Converting back to the` ` ` `# ASCII from binary format` ` ` `return` `binascii.unhexlify(` `'00%x'` `%` `int` `(resAsBinary, ` `2` `)).` `hex` `()` `# Driver code` `if` `__name__ ` `=` `=` `'__main__'` `:` ` ` `# Message to be hashed` ` ` `message ` `=` `"GeeksForGeeks"` ` ` `# Generate a 600 bit` ` ` `# hash using SHA256` ` ` `print` `(fdh(message, ` `600` `))` |

**Output:**

00cf161c36df4db9e30d79cf9cb3d72e1934cbaeb9eb8638f0d71f1872679e1df9c3932c77c70c98efa64d34e3166c5b698738b36d9b36b87261c5ae3c61873c98e19b362db1c73658f0e4c9

__Using an eXtendible Output Function (XOF) hashing methods__

eXtendible Output Functions are a class of hashing functions which, unlike traditional hashing functions, can generate an arbitrarily large sequence of bits in the digest of a message. This is in strong contrast to regular hash functions which are defined by a fixed output size. In the recently introduced **SHA-3** scheme, XOF is provided using the **SHAKE128** and **SHAKE256** algorithms. They follow from the general properties of the **sponge construction**. A sponge function can generate an arbitrary length of the output. The 128 and 256 in their names indicate its maximum security level (in bits), as described in Sections A.1 and A.2 of FIPS 202.

To avail the functionality of SHA-3 in Python, the **PyCryptodome** library may be utilized as follows:

## Python3

`# Python program to demonstrate` `# the SHA-3 algorithm` `from` `Crypto.` `Hash` `import` `SHAKE256` `from` `binascii ` `import` `hexlify` `# Instantiate the SHAKE256 object` `shake ` `=` `SHAKE256.new()` `# Set the message to be hashed` `shake.update(b` `'GeeksForGeeks'` `)` `# Print a hash output of 50 bits size` `print` `(hexlify(shake.read(` `50` `)))` |

**Output:**

b’65d6df8d88198de69b3cf59b859d72971b93f102ca20af812b931714a558c7a134cb3bb085835f470c890bd1d50928355358′

**Note:** The above code won’t be run on online IDE’s because online IDE’s lack the Crypto library.

Attention reader! Don’t stop learning now. Get hold of all the important DSA concepts with the **DSA Self Paced Course** at a student-friendly price and become industry ready. To complete your preparation from learning a language to DS Algo and many more, please refer **Complete Interview Preparation Course****.**

In case you wish to attend live classes with industry experts, please refer **DSA Live Classes**