April Fool — Cryptographers way

1st April is the day on which no information can be easily taken as fact and is also the day where pranking or fooling anyone tends to bring laughter rather than angry stares.

Yesterday, some of my friends were commenting how many people from different science streams have played elegant pranks on their respective communities and surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) they claimed that Cryptographers have never played any good April fool. Cryptographers have had their own share of April Fool incidents, maybe not as geeky as Google’s annual April fool (I loved the Quantum code testing*); but Crypto April fools have a certain stroke of brilliance in them that cannot be compared to others.

This year PHC (Password Hashing Competition) mailed the following to everyone, sharing this since not many seem to be aware:

After over two years of in-depth analysis and careful deliberation, today the panel is pleased to announce that LM Hash has been unanimously selected as the winner of the PHC. To many panel members, the choice was obvious.

Selection criteria includes the following, in no particular order:

– LM Hash leverages the well-studied and proven DES block cipher.

– Most users only select passwords that are 6 – 8 characters long, so LM Hash’s 14-character limitation is more than reasonable for the majority of use cases.

– LM Hash is not case-sensitive, reducing the number of password reset requests and Help Desk tickets that result from users not remembering their precise passwords.

– Most LM Hash values have already been pre-computed and made publicly available, reducing load on authentication servers.

– LM Hash does not require the use of salt, which aligns with the American Heart Association’s guidelines for a low-sodium diet.

– LM Hash requires little energy to compute, thereby contributing to environment-friendly authentication systems.

As a Microsoft employee, Marsh Ray was the most vocal advocate for LM Hash, noting that Microsoft, IBM, and 3Com have had support for LM Hash since 1988. Alexander Peslyak added that LM Hash is the ideal PHC winner since it’s already well-supported in John the Ripper. Jeremi Gosney and Jens Steube were quick to agree, noting that LM Hash has all of the qualities they desire in a password hash.

Comparing LM Hash to other PHC finalists:

– Unlike LM Hash, Argon and Catena are resistant to TMTO, wasting valuable CPU cycles.

– Battcrypt uses Blowfish, which was developed by that charlatan Bruce Schneier. LM Hash uses DES, which was developed by IBM and the NSA. Which do you trust more?

– Lyra2 relies on a sponge for security, which is by definition full of holes. LM Hash relies on a block cipher. Blocks don’t have holes.

– Pufferfish encrypts the palindrome “Drab as a fool, aloof as a bard.” LM Hash encrypts the string “kgs!@#$%”, saving the user 24 bytes.

– LM Hash is far simpler than yescrypt! It can be described in one line, whereas yescrypt can’t even be described in one book.

– Unlike Makwa, LM Hash is post-quantum!

– Parallel was designed by Steve Thomas, who you can’t trust to hash your password. LM Hash wasn’t designed by Steve but by trusted Microsoft experts.

Being the choice of foremost thought leaders in the field, LM Hash is already a success:

– LM Hash will appear in the next Gartner Magic Quadrant for state-of-the-art password hashing.

– Academic researchers have started applying for grants in order to investigate security proofs of LM Hash in the related-password model under relaxed misuse-resistance assumptions. Leading researchers already expect breakthrough indifferentiability proofs in the ideal cipher model.

– A new secure messaging application will generate one-time-pad masks from user passwords using LM Hash, promising higher security than legacy solutions such as TextSecure.

Rating in terms of other April fool stuffs around, I would easily rather this as first for sure. And since this post is about April fool another good prank played by a Professor on his student can be watched below:


*Google announced that it had successfully modeled all possible states of software using quantum superposition techniques.