On Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 6:00 PM, Gregory Maxwell <g...@xiph.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 9:05 PM, Russell O'Connor via bitcoin-dev
> <bitcoin-dev@lists.linuxfoundation.org> wrote:
> > If the inputs to hash were reordered as hash(bytes(dG) || bytes(x(R)) ||
> m)
> > then there is an opportunity for SHA256 expander to be partially
> prefilled
> > for a fixed public key.  This could provide a little benefit, especially
> > when multiple signatures for a single public key need to be generated
> and/or
> > verified.  If all things are otherwise equal, perhaps this alternate
> order
> > is better.
> There is a minor design preference to have message before nonce when
> H() is a MD-style hash function.  Say the attacker knows some weakness
> in H and can find pairs of messages m and m' so that the compression
> function results in the same midstate.  He could then ask you to sign
> m but get a signature that also works for m'.   If the signer
> controlled R value comes first, then this doesn't work.    The pubkey
> being where it is in the current design just follows from the idea
> that it is just logically prepended on the message.  I don't think the
> pubkey is sufficiently attacker controlled that the above argument
> would apply,  so H(P || R.x || m) would be okay.
> BUT, the sha256 compression function reads 64 bytes at a time. PRM
> would not let you precompute a whole compression function run, but
> instead would just let you hardwire part of the expander in a pubkey
> dependant way-- an optimization I'm pretty confident virtually no one
> would use.  (Hardwiring to a constant, yes. Hardwiring to a reused
> dynamic value that comes in from the network, no)

Right.  I readily admit my proposal has extremely marginal efficiency
benefits. However, I didn't realize there is also an extremely marginal
security benefit to placing the nonce in front of everything.  Although
these things are so marginal that it is perhaps a waste of time to even be
considering them, I think I'd judge the extremely marginal security benefit
to exceed the value of the extremely marginal efficiency gain.  It's
probably best to leave the nonce at the beginning after all.

> If instead the hash function were defined as using 31 zeros then
> P||R||m (or P || 31 zeros bytes || R || m, I'm not sure what would be
> better), an entire midstate could be cached for different pubkeys. m
> is often 32 bytes, sadly- - but the final compression run in that case
> would only be the constant update with the length.... and
> almost-all-zeros + constant length, is an easy optimization. (Bitcoin
> core even has it for computing sha256(sha256())).

I did consider this, however the 31 bytes of zeros, plus the SHA256 padding
means we would need to compress *three* blocks in general instead of the
current proposal of just two blocks.  This burden seems to exceed the
benefit of maybe sometimes getting a slightly fast
two-blocks-with-lots-of-zeros when public keys are reused. I wouldn't
recommend it.

There is an alternative of just dropping the SHA-256 length padding.  This
would still be secure in this context because the data is of fixed size.
However, I doubt it is worth breaking the API of every SHA-256 library in
existence to enable that.

> [I'm not really sure if I was clear, so I'll try TLDRing it:  I think
> optimizing sha256 where part of the input is constant is realistic,
> optimizing midstate reuse is realistic, optimizing where part is
> reused is less realistic.  If we insert padding, and put P first, we
> can make it possible to midstate cache P,  and the 'extra' compression
> function run ends up with all constant input, so it could be made
> faster.]
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